Gender is incredibly trivial but I care about it, here is why:

There is a kind of gendered currency that those who conform to the expectations of gender have but are not aware of. When I say those who conform, I don’t refer to those who try to conform, but instead refer to those lucky sods who are just naturally quite feminine women/masculine men.

It can often look deeply trivial to this set of people when non-conformists (such as myself) start to care about gender. I am speaking in generalities here but I tend to find that this gendered currency results in them being totally unable to see the ways in which messaging about gender creates a plethora of mental health issues for non-conformists. Such people expect everyone to be as they are. They care about gender but do not even realise it. By naturally fitting the norm (feminine of centre women, masculine of centre men) they don’t much have to think about gender. Then when others care about it- to them it seems silly, and also being blind to it, they can not see the damage done by the expectations which they then typically reinforce- “men should be men, women should be women”.

These may be small things but across a life-span they amount to a giant mountain of gendered moments, which many do not even recognise as gendered. Moments which make your personality feel wrong and broken, moments which I suspect heavily contribute to gender dysphoria.

Suddenly I find myself, as non-conformist, in need of langauge to describe what I see- and I am often then faced by sincere denial of the problem, its severity, and then also I am told that my ponderance on such matters is self-indulgent and deeply trivial. What is not seen as trivial or narcissistic is the hand-wringing from others over my hair, what I wore, what my interests were and are. This desire to control the clothing, behaviours, hair-styles of other people strikes me as stunningly narcissistic- far more so than an individual merely saying “I am done trying to please others, I’m going to please myself” which actually to me seems very wise.

Ex. “I’m so glad you didn’t cut your hair really short, because I don’t like it that short” or “I wish you would grow your hair out” is seen as neutral, but “all my life everyone has been deeply concerned over my hair and I am going short-back-and-sides like I’ve always wanted to” is seen as narcissistic navel-gazing. I think this is backwards. The latter is a survival instinct in response to a society that has policed your behaviour where the former is a deeply ingrained narcissistic urge to control the behaviours of others, often rooted in either homophobia or a dislike of gender non-conformity or both. Often both.

I grew up in an era in the 90s/00s where self-expression and authenticity wasn’t so much encouraged but expected but dichotomously gender-nonconformity was rather sparse. There was more gender-nonconformity in the 70s/80s to be honest. So I was, I think, expected to find some deeply authentic expression of myself which was also feminine of centre- which was an impossibility for me as a masculine person.

I guess I wonder this- if we want to reverse back in time to the 50s where authenticity and self-expression were unimportant and unexpected- then fine, I guess. I don’t think we’d be better for it. But during my childhood we seemed to enter this bizarro space where self-expression and authenticity were deeply important but gender non-conformity also shunned so that those of us who, for I suspect biological reasons (hormomal cycles during pregnancy, slight neurological differences, homosexuality, et al.), were non-conformist and couldn’t help it (to the extent that it begins to feel like an innate sense of self which you are routinely punished for by those around you, unaware that what they are doing is even punishment), we existed in this twilight zone where authenticity was expected but we found ourselves either punished for being authentic or completely unable to be authentic and then punished for not having a strong sense of self. Whatever we did, we were doing it wrong.

Non-conformists are then left with conformists who presume we have a poor sense of self or low self-esteem for being unable to find a feminine sense of self (if female)- when the issue really was- we just weren’t that feminine. This is very crazy-making.

It also strikes me that social conservatives believe in pure blank slate-theory as ardently as extreme radical feminists. They insist that gender is entirely socialisation by inferring that if socialised “correctly” nobody would be non-conformist or trans. This contradicts various studies done on the subject which (for females) point to pre-natal testosterone as causal links for masculine behaviour in females. Both extreme radical feminists and social conservatives seek to deny the role of biology in gendered behaviours. In short- blank slate-theory in all its various formations is in my opinion total nonsense.

I guess I wonder- in regards to social conservatives on the issue of gender, why is gender deeply trivial when social liberals start to care about it- but deeply meaningful when social conservatives reinforce it? Gender, as a concept, is either meaningful or it isn’t. I think it is all deeply trivial and find there is no subject I could care about less (let’s discuss DC vs Marvel instead please) but have found myself in this bizarre twilight zone world and have been trapped into having to talk about it because:

The trans-rights movement with its persistent belief in female/male brains, gendered stereotypes making you immediately transgender, 8 year old boys who like dresses being immediately labelled young girls- all looks deeply regressive and potentially very damaging to me. Completely ignoring desistence (for lack of a better word) as a phenomenon strikes me as very destructive to the lives of young children. This looks dystopian- like an episode of Black Mirror.

But then also the social conservatives in my life deeply deeply cared about gender without even realising that they did, and whilst doing so they did a fair amount of damage to my mental health. So hell yes, I started to care. Caring was a survival strategy. The gendered system felt very dystopic to me, I was damaged by it as it left me not so much #GenderFree but incredibly #GenderHarmed. My entire life has felt like an episode of Black Mirror.

So I care about gender in the sense that I care that other people care about gender. I don’t at all understand why. It strikes me as very trivial. In short- I’ll stop caring about it when other people stop caring about it, and the sooner the better.

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On Carving Out My Own Space

It is 1am in the morning, I am pondering over the hurtful ignorance of a particular person who shall remain unnamed- as I have been pondering on this for weeks now. They are gender critical, apparently.

Except they are totally uncritical of gender in any meaningful way- it would be more accurate to call them “trans-skeptic”. They were also quite homophobic, and bizarely misogynistic (especially for a feminist). I personally find the assumption that there is some sort of feminine essence that defines a woman misogynistic whoever it comes from and whatever direction that assumption takes (transwomen are women/women should be women are in my opinion two sides of the same gendered coin).

The intent from this person, I think, was to turn me into a “normie” and the more I think about normie life- the more I think it sounds suffocating actually. I have no desire for children, they look cute but so do mountain bears. You also need to be psychologically stable enough to raise them, and should ideally want to raise them (I don’t). The assumption was also that trans people couldn’t be normies- categorically untrue as I have met some stunningly normie and frankly boring trans people.

What irked me about the encounters with this person? They presumed that gender dysphoria in its entirety was fictional- they presumed the issue was about “growing up” and being unable to do so. Well, no, actually it is about mental illness, much of it severe. It is about nothing in your life being quite right until you take transition seriously. It is about inviting other people to let go of how they imagined you’d be and to accept you as you are, particularly when routine punishment for something you are unable to control is cruel and makes the world and the people in it appear much nastier than they actually are. A bit of “objects in mirror may appear closer than they actually are” but instead “people in rear-view may appear crueller than they actually are”.

It is also about being able, once taking transition seriously- to do things you’d never imagined you could do. I never imagined that I could have worked part-time whilst studying, maintain a somewhat active online personality that reaches thousands and makes people think. Whilst battling crippling dysphoria I would have had to have chosen one of those things and would have struggled to do it well.

What bothered me most was after having repeated discussions with this person about how ruinous of an impact gender dysphoria has had on my life, they still continued to insist that I was lying and needed to grow up. Why did this person bother me and not another? They said nothing I haven’t heard, in bits and pieces, from other people.

I think, in part it was continuous denial of the severity of my problem, denial of my analysis of its etiology, and insistence from this person that they knew my life better than I did, and that whilst denying the ruinous affects of gender dysphoria they somehow imagined that they could make better decisions about my life than I could. No one, of any calibre, would be able to make any effective decisions about my life if they also ignored the over-arching issue that has affected it the most, gender dysphoria. NB: This person had severe control issues.

Also what bothered me was that whilst denying the gender dysphoria and its severity, they continued to play into it- apparently it is feminist to presume that “women ought to be women” and that performing femininity was a part of “growing up”.

As another friend put it:

Against non-conformity, feminist, um no. Pick one.

They also presumed as many do, that a “normie” heterosexual (here comes the homophobia) lifestyle was one in which I would florish- a sincere misunderstanding of my very nature. Not just my masculinity, not just my attraction to women- but also a sincere misunderstanding of my short attention span. I suspect I would be bored if I am honest, even if married to a woman with a child. Then there was also this bizarre assumption that transmen do not get married or have children, they do- why else would they sue the NHS over fertility matters?

(A discussion which frankly deserves a blog post of its own- but for now I will say this: sueing the NHS in this manner appears to me like the genius plan of a Russian spy operative to turn British society against trans people, but it is instead actually the lunatic concoction of some very sincere and extreme trans-activists).

All that aside the insane level of control that this person wished to have over me and my life irked me. It was also control they wished to have without taking any substantive action because it suddenly made them realise how totalitarian this all was. They did not appreciate my masculine garb, but when I said “okay you dress me every day then. Let’s go shopping. You choose what I wear. No? Are you starting to realise how totalitarian this is with actual action behind it?”

This person was rather obsessed with the notion that the trans thing was about clothes whilst being very obsessed over what I wore. Projection I think.

This person also liked me, but did not like trans people (nor gay people, nor the gender-nonconforming very much either) so in order to square that- I had to not be trans. I had to “mature” into something I wasn’t. This person was doing what many had done before- expecting another fictional person to turn up and replace me. Not gonna happen kiddo. This person can not simultaneously like me but not like trans people- I am trans.

All of this has made me wonder about my place in the wider gender discussion on twitter- it is as someone who is trans. I get the sneaky suspicion that a small minority of my twitter followers are waiting for me to detransition. I am not detransitioning and if you are waiting for that you may as well wait for Godot whilst you are at it. People can not simultaneously like me, but dislike trans people. Most of the Gender-Crits I have met actually quite like trans people- their concerns are identical to my own- the rights of natal women to organise as women.

Now- on the flip side, trans-rights activists seem to be insistent that the thing that makes us who we are, our transness, should be or could be somehow imagined out of existence- so that we are men like men are men, and women like women are women with no differences there at all. They seem to be deeply ashamed of being trans. So ashamed, in fact, that they want to pretend that they aren’t trans.

I am not ashamed of being trans. I will likely live an idiosynchratic sort of life, full of friends and family, full of love, a full life, a whole one. My life could take many directions- I could become dreadfully normie, marry and have children (I doubt it but never say never), or I could lead an eccentric life (I suspect I will). But I will be leading that life, as a trans person, and as such I embrace that I *am* trans which causes tension with trans-skeptics/extremist Gender-Crits (who I think are a minority) but also causes tension with extremist trans-rights activists who seem to want to deny that they are trans (who I think it is worth noting are also a minority of trans people).

I’m also veering away from the language of “sides”. There are not two sides, one gender-critical and one trans. It only appears that way. There are sets of people who sincerely believe that they are doing and saying the right thing whatever their position. I hold up the humanity of the individual first and foremost, and compassion for all will always be my calling card. Extremists on both “sides” will find that hard to understand. They don’t call me Trans-Centrist for nothing. I think instead of sides though, we ought to think about this issue like this: there are reasonable people who want to find solutions that take into account both trans people and women, and there are unreasonable people who do not.

One of the reasonable people whose take I agree with is Dr. Kathleen Stock, whose excellent long-form piece for Quilette outlines a potential solution. I encourage you all to read it, even if it is the only other thing you read today or even this week.

Ignoring Differences Between Men and Women Is the Wrong Way to Address Gender Dysphoria

If you are not already following her on twitter, you should do so- she can be found at @docstockk

Her solution accepts me as a trans person and supports my right to live in peace whilst *also* protecting women. In short though, I am carving out my own space and as far as my own place in this discussion, it is as trans and unashamedly so.

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In which I wish I was lying

I wish I was lying about gender dysphoria. I wish my life hadn’t been made hellish because of it. I wish I hadn’t felt so trapped. I wish that much of it wasn’t my own fault. My own fault because a good amount of the pressure, though not all of it, was self-induced. The expectations of others were the bars I used to build my own cage- a form of self-induced mental slavery.

It is really hard for me to disentangle gender from my body. I once said to someone that in order for me to detransition, you’d have to “degender the body” and even then I’m unsure- doesn’t that sound like madness? BECAUSE IT IS. It is madness! If you ask me, the second we found ourselves unable to admit the nature of gender dysphoria was when things went very wrong. We started making stupid arguments about whether or not “trans-atlantic” literally meant “born in America” and failed to recognise the times when dysphoria was feeding our activism. As I like to point out frequently to people- my sex was not assigned at birth, it was observed.

But I also can not lie that gender dysphoria has acutely interferred with my life, left me with untold mental illness and distress. So what does GD look like?

Gender dysphoria looks like this- when I was a child I engaged in magical thinking. I thought I would grow a penis when I turned into one of those teenagery things. I thought “the mistake” would correct itself. It also looks like breasts growing out of my chest and me wondering “Why the HELL is THIS happening?” and it also looks like surfing the internet at 12 years old to see if it is possible for a woman to become a man (yes and no). It involves keeping a deep dark secret, with the only relief being my dreams- in which I always took male form.

It involves gender non-conformity feeding my dysphoria- because I should have been a guy and I’m not one so that non-conformism only fed that idea, and it involves gender conformity feeding my gender dysphoria too- because that was psychologically damaging in ways that I can not even begin to describe.

It involves my mind mostly, but my body too. It involves PUSHING my breasts to the absolute back of my chest until it looked like they’d disappeared. It involves watching teenage boys develop muscle, and their voices dropping and their facial hair growing and thinking “WHY isn’t that ME?”

It involves looking at women of all shapes and sizes and wondering if I could be one of them- could I smash myself down to fit a feminine box? Could I develop the mental strength to be a hyper-masculine woman and tell everyone else to politely sod off? It involves looking at men of all shapes and sizes and wondering why I wasn’t born as one of them. What had I done to deserve this? Why me?

It involves a lot of things. It involves hormonal changes feeling like freedom. Most disturbingly, it involved my suicide attempt at 19- because I could no longer imagine my life as a woman. If you are gender critical then that incident must look disturbingly tragic- if as opposed to “I was a man trapped in a woman’s body” you believe “I was non-conformist and our conformist world crushed me”. Tragic.

The physical side is this: at times your body doesn’t feel like your body, it feels like some weird flesh carcass that you inhabit. At other times you are acutely aware of your body and just how WRONG it is.

And several things feed into this process, that I will describe as homophobia, but could also be said to be gendered standards- but if the entirety of GD is caused by gendered standards and homophobia then we live in a very depressingly not good world.

The social aspect is this:

Many many women await for you to perform the standard of woman correctly- and they don’t particularly care how much pretence that involves, that it is intensely damaging to your self-image, your self-esteem, and your well-being. They have a standard of WOMAN that you must meet. (See also how women police and grade each other’s female gender performance in Germaine Greer’s The Female Eununch).

From a biological perspective, my life has also been messed around by intersexual competition from women who didn’t seem to understand that as a homosexual woman pretransition I was not in competition with them. Or as I put it to one woman once “You and I are not playing the same game, I’m not in this competition, suck all the dick you want- have at it. It doesn’t interest me.” That was probably too overtly grotesque but I was at the end of my rope during that particular conversation.

The social side of this is very mentally draining, and if the bodily side of it is intertwined with the social aspect, then that is even more draining. Because it looks to me like GD feeding mechanisms are nothing more than being made to feel different for being non-conformist, and that we develop a set of psychological maladaptive coping mechanisms, of wishing we were the opposite sex due to arbitrary constraints and restrictions put on the sexes until we reach the point of “I AM NOT A WOMAN, I AM AN HONEST TO HECKING MAN. NOW PLEASE LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE.”

Gender is very crazy-making and intensely more so if we are to assume that the bodily side of this was also equally socially induced. I can see why gender-crits would think “this can not possibly be true” but I wish I was lying. I ponder this about the “TERF” wars.

Regardless of whether there exist biological causes, trans people seem to me to be the set of people most poorly served by our system of gender- and gender-crits would like to see a world without gender. Couldn’t we potentially put aside our differences to work alongside each other to reach a common aim? I hope so.

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Why I am a gender abolitionist.

Gender Critical thinking goes thus:

  • Gender isn’t real because masculinity and femininity are merely traits expressed by both sexes
  • We live in a world that codifies male as masculine, and female as feminine but gender is socially constructed
  • Transition- lots of differing opinions there-in, but it largely isn’t ideal and has the potential to uphold socially conservative standards about gender as it upholds the idea of male=masculine, female=feminine
  • We should really seek to rid the world of these onerous expectations.

So what would a desire to live as the opposite sex look like in a world that didn’t expect anything of anyone based on their sexual characteristics? Would gender dysphoria even exist? I genuinely don’t know but increasingly GD looks to me like a socially induced nightmare and these expectations look like a form of mental slavery. Not just for trans people, but for literally nearly everyone I’ve spoken to on the topic. Many of them pretend. The pretence for some is unbearable (trans)- and I am also noticing a reoccuring pattern: a good number of trans people pretransition pretend really really hard before they transition. They engage in a sort of hyper-performance of their birth gender in order to fit in- having nothing of themselves to go with, they just use stereotypes. I, on the otherhand, was always somewhat mouthy and rebellious. Those who of us who do not conform are frequently the subject of a lot of bullying.

What is gender dysphoria? The social aspect is this: hundreds and thousands of gendered moments that make you feel like “some sort of mistake must have been made at my birth”. You are masculine and thus you should have been born male, what the heck happened? Why is your life like this? What sort of sick God creates people like you? Are you demon spawn from hell?

The bodily aspect is this: as a child I presumed the mistake would be corrected when I grew into one of those weird teenager things, and then that didn’t happen and that was hell. What weird messed up joke is this? Was I Hitler in a past life? Answers on a post-card please.

As a teen- I once trapped a spider in a jar and tortured it. I am not proud of this and it is also stage 1 of becoming a serial killer- but it did give me some insight into what I felt like God must have been doing with my life.

Would I have felt that way if boy and girl were nurtured in such a way that neither was treated any differently, but rather people were excited to see who their children would become instead of having various expectations about what they would become. Maybe, maybe not.

I’d like to find out. But I wish I hadn’t discovered gender critical thinking because it looks very much like the entire thing was a socially induced nightmare that could well disappear if we let people be people, let clothes be clothes and let toys be toys.

We are fast approaching that world and some people find it really threatening. I want to build that world, because if the entire thing is socially induced then as people we can socially construct the world in a different less damaging manner.

From what I can see trans people are playing out their dysphoria on a societal level. Each sex is treated differently and for some of us that makes us wish we were the other. And then we really deeply begin to believe that we are- but what we appear to be doing is severely damaging. We may have been damaged ourselves but it is no excuse- societal wide biology denial isn’t very healthy.

The pain of being smushed into boxes we don’t fit, being chastised for not fitting those boxes properly when great efforts have been made or worse- fitting them really well but the performance making you deeply hate yourself and your life and God. To push through that and the dysphoria it causes and the depression and all manner of other things to say “I’m a man, now leave me alone, piss off with your damaging expectations”. This feels like freedom. What if real freedom was no boxes? Even if the new box fits perfectly and even if the old box nearly killed you- gender was the cause of your gender dysphoria, it can not be the solution to it.

So the question we trans need to ask the world is this: you can have sex (biologically grounded) or you can have gender (religious fictional bollocks) but you can not have both- and right now it looks very much like you can not have either.

Personally I favour preserving sex over gender, because sex is a biologically grounded material reality whereas gender isn’t.

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I Spent the Day as a TERF*

*Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist

Here is what happened.

By 2pm I was so morbidly depressed, bitter, and resentful that I was contemplating dismantling everything. It made me realise how utterly gendered everything we do is- right down to how we greet each other. It made me intensely dysphoric not just on my own behalf but on behalf of society. Let’s do away with gender- what serious purpose does it serve other than to put us in cages?

I began thinking of myself merely as a hyper-masculine woman. I felt a strange twinge at literally any gendered label of any nature that was placed on me. I began to contemplate that society had made me hate my body for no reason other than that I didn’t fit into misogynistic gendered expectations. I felt resentful at that and also resentful that at being unable to be myself I had also not been allowed to express any femininity I had (deep down somewhere) because any time I did was a “ha, gotcha” moment for those wanting to uphold those gender expectations.

All of this is a fiction- it was a thought experiment for a reason. I will, often at my peril, try anything at least once. Trying to contort truth to fit an ideology is a depressing spiralling road to hell. These things are far more biologically grounded than we think. Men are on average more masculine and women are on average more feminine and it is for this reason that we will never do away with gender for the sake of the 1% of transsexuals that exist in our midst or the equally small number of ideologically motivated TERFs. Gender serves us and it serves us well- the statistical outliers need to find a way to navigate that without being ostracised instead of working to dismantle the systems that serve 99% of people quite well. People do not enslave themselves enmass, at least not to the extent that this TERF line of thinking took me. Minority groups are often enslaved by societal norms that by and large work. You don’t create societal norms around statistical outliers. You allow minorities to exist, to live out their authentic being and to do so without being socially ostracised- because we are unfortunately still quite tribal.

I think the traditionalists imagine that if they get me to detransition that I will become a wholesome feminine woman, sweet and demure who smiles at my imaginary husband as he explains the differences between men and women. Unfortunately, I have an inherent nature for which it is not so easy to bend and contort myself. What would instead happen is I would be bitter and resentful at being trapped in a cage- I would still hate my body and have no way out of it. I do not think gender is entirely socially constructed, precisely because I am transsexual. I was not a particularly rebellious child, I’m actually not particularly rebellious in nature- if I had been a mouldable sponge I would have been a very feminine woman. What I am is someone with an innate nature who would have to suffer terribly in order to bend that nature to fit in to the world. This has lead to my belief that these things are, at least in part but most likely in large part, biological in nature- which is scientifically founded more and more with each passing day.

It is not, as some imagine, that I joined a cabal of left-wing intersectional feminists in the early 2010s and was twisted into thinking I was really a man. I did not bend myself into manhood or masculinity. I freed myself from various prior constraints. Whenever I try bend and contort myself into womanhood again I am reminded of why I was left-wing to begin with. I loved freedom- and my love of freedom, ultimately red-pilled me as it inevitably would. So few people genuinely love freedom and want it for everyone- for themselves yes but other people they want to control. I have no such desires- they remind me too much of the constraints that were placed on me.

At Christmas time I must reiterate the most important message that I have learnt from Christ- you don’t get to do to them what they did to you, that is not how this works. You will not get away with that. That leads to a constant back and forth struggle for power. Put down your swords, turn them into plough-shares. Don’t just say it angrily to the “other side”- do it yourself.

Let men be masculine, let women be feminine, if they so desire. Let the rest of us find a way to plough through without resentment building up, taking over and seeking to burn everything to the ground so we can start over. It isn’t very Burkean for one thing.

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In the Eye of the Culture War Storm

The backlash to left-wing lunacy is just as much in full swing as is the left-wing lunacy itself. I am in the centre of it and at times both loathe and love in equal measure those on both sides of this bloody mess. The lunacy in part, this week, caused by two things:

1) British schools in Brighton have been directed to teach students that boys have periods too

2) Miss Spain Competes as the First Transgender Woman in the oddly named Miss Universe contest

Other such stories resurface on social media, for instance:

3) Transwoman handball player Hannah Mouncey banned in one league but eligible to play in another seemed to gain popular attention again

So it goes. And the conservatives, God love them, are considerably riled up and are not that partial to emotional arguments. There are plenty of these to make. I make no comment on whether any of this gender-bending business is wise. I sometimes wonder- will we get to the end of 20 years of this and think “oh bollocks, we fucked up gender”. But what used to be known as the medical condition called transsexualism, now termed gender dysphoria, is very real and pretty grim to live through.

So I thought through it. I thought- okay, I really intensely dislike the nonsense being propagated by my left-wing friends. It would be much much easier for me to sign the dotted line in favour of their ideology- but I can’t. I’m like the DUP- I want to be fully part of the United Kingdom, no border with the Republic, and not in the customs union. That’s a shopping list of demands which when put together seems intractable. My more liberal friends tell me to be more honest. They are right. I should do that. I haven’t been honest enough with them. I am nobodies puppet, so here is my shopping list of demands:

1) I want to live my life as myself. To be a masculine woman is a compromise. To be a feminine woman is a heart-breaking unbearable burden of which I am not capable. There are many many burdens I can shoulder in order to live in a world which makes more sense. This is not one of them. I’m officially done oppressing myself. This will please my liberal cohorts.

2) I can not buy into this absurd unscientific nonsensical ideology you’ve constructed in order to, as you see it, support me in my decision to live as my authentic self. This will displease my liberal cohorts.

My identity was so fragmented pre-transition. I had a heart-breaking conversation with a friend once it went like this:

“You don’t really know who you are, do you?”

Me- “No”

That was a lie. I knew precisely who I was but did not have the means to express this. I do not often talk about this but pre-transition I attempted suicide on two separate occasions.

Once when I was 11, the other when I was 19.

When I was 11 it became clear to me that the stupid bloody awful mistake that had been made at my birth was not going to rectify itself. Pre-puberty I always thought once I hit that stage when people turn into teenagers that nature would correct itself. I would grow a penis, my chest would stay as is. Everything would be right. This did not happen.

I should clarify there are multivariate reasons for suicide. Here are those other reasons in this instance:

  • my percieved sexual orientation and its conflict with my faith
  • Pope John Paul II calling us “intrinsically disordered”
  • Reading Romans 1 over and over and over again until I had memorised it
  • The fact that I had prayed for the past 6 months prior for God to take away my attraction to women and it never abated.

I suppose those are really all related.

So I wrote a note, ran a bath, attempted to drown myself, realised what I was doing, stopped myself, dried myself and wept. Physically sobbed. Then I disposed with the note, woke up next morning and declared that “God is dead”. I spent the next 6 years wading in and out of atheism, paganism, buddhism and even for a brief period LaVeyan Satanism. I did not regain my faith until I was 17. That is for a separate blog post.

When I was 19 this is what happened, and this time gender dysphoria is entirely to blame.

I could not picture my future. I kept looking around, as I have done on an almost daily basis since I was about 16, at masculine women (could I be her? Is that not an incredibly isolating and difficult path?), feminine women (of all sorts, but strong feminine women in particular- how is that even possible? How is she managing that? Could I do that?) and glancing briefly at men (again of all sorts) and thinking “I want to be you when I grow up” and feeling deeply ashamed of that, and trying to squash it with all my might. So when I tried to picture my future as a woman it was a black nothingness, so I began to assume I had no future- I couldn’t picture it presumably because it didn’t exist.

This time, whilst at boarding school, I attempted suicide in a very feminine manner (though again with water, I am not sure why) by taking a pair of hair straighteners, turning them on, grabbing them and shoving my hand into a sink full of water.

It did not kill me. It just gave me a quite painful shock which lasted for a few days. Immediately afterwards I went to my housemaster who instructed me to go the nurses (I didn’t) and to call my mother and tell her (I did- hardest thing I have ever had to do).

Two weeks later the depression sunk back in and I burst into tears mid-history lesson and afterwards came out for the first time to anyone ever, to my history teacher. And that’s when I made the decision that this thing I was doing where I was trying to contort myself into an identity that was so ill-fitting it was likely to be the death of me- I’m done with that. I want out. So I made the decision then and there to transition.

The physical transition took a long time to come to fruition and I have now been on hormones since August 2018- or 4 months. I lived “in role” for whatever that means (it is a rather nebulous phrase if you ask me) for about 4 and a half years. The Catholic Church, Edmund Burke and I like to do things at a snails pace to be absolutely one hundred percent certain that it is the right thing to do. We are the holy trinity of taking time and giving things their due respect.

Society is not that way. It wants to rush on ahead- sod any mistakes it makes and push forward for PROGRESS. If in the meantime we destroy the viability of women-only rape centres by allowing self-identification of gender with no system of checks and balances then so be it. Well whilst being myself is one red line I have, here is my other red line:

On behalf of women everywhere, fuck that- sincerely a trans person.

This move to self-identification seems to think so highly of human nature that it imagines that a system with no checks and balances will not find itself open to the worst predators and abusers. It will. If our so-called “Conservative” government introduces the self-identification of gender it will officially cease to be a conservative government. The same, it has to be said, would happen under Corbyn whose policy-platform is to introduce self-ID. I can think of nothing worse to happen to trans people- it will make our desires to authentically be ourselves seem like dangerous lunacy- if that isn’t already the case anyway.

Now where I am- the strongest, fittest, and most at peace with myself I have ever been- I am willing to say “This is me. I can’t be anyone else. This is my red line. My red line is I want to be me. Is that really so much to ask? Seriously?” But I am also willing to say to the trans-activists and the progressives out there “for the love of God will you please stop your nonsense? You may well reign in a neo-victorian era and that will be dreadful for all of us”.

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The Kinder Gentler Politics

Two wrongs don’t make a right. This used to be a truth around which we could find some consensus- it is now the tired battle-cry of the conservative movement. Why? If you state this truism now in a political discussion it is assumed that you can’t possibly understand the hurt people have experienced. You are lacking in empathy. If you don’t want to turn the screws on the oppressors then you really don’t understand. First of all I understand perfectly well and I refuse to list all the ways in which I know as justification for my argument. My argument needs no justification beyond the confines of the argument. My personal experiences are really quite irrelevant. I could be naive and young. I would still be stating a truism.

Also I understand well enough what resentment can do to a human heart. If you’re in that bad hurting place then you assume that others who aren’t in that place are sociopaths. Look at the world- why aren’t they in tears? Why aren’t they angry? Why aren’t they *pick your poison*? At a certain point I grew to really understand how angry resentment was a poison. You spout some line where you list a number of inherent characteristics as villainous groups- “you cis het white man” as though you aren’t doing to them precisely what their forebears did to your forebears. At a certain point you might stop yourself and see the person, not the long list of descriptions- and you might realise in no uncertain terms what you turned in to. How your hate, your anger, your resentment was bending you and twisting you.

So I began to ask dangerous questions- forget history for a moment. How am I doing? What can I actually list that other people actually did to me? The list is short- once the paranoia of mental illness fades you can see it for it was. The list of actual wrong-doings is slim. Then you might ask the question- what were their motives? Were they nasty awful people who intended me harm? The list becomes even smaller. Then you might ask the most dangerous question of all- what did I do wrong? Dangerous because it assumes that I am not “perfect just the way I am”. Contrary to much of the current underpinnings of the counselling movement- the fault does not lay entirely with my environment. When I asked “what the hell is wrong with me?” it was the first honest question I’d asked for quite some time. “Nothing is wrong with you” doesn’t ring true and for a very good reason. When you account for the ways you wronged others the list becomes even smaller still.

Then you might do something truly crazy- you might take Jesus literally. Whoever is left on that list you might reasonably describe as an enemy. You might spend months praying for your enemies every day. I did. One each day. Just to see what it would change. My empathy then became the strongest it has ever been. In my experience you’re not lacking in empathy because you don’t want to strike down the “oppressor”- you’re the most empathetic you’ve been for a while.

Since praying for my enemies really seemed to work I’ve started taking things literally on occasion to see what would happen. The final rule in Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life” is “Pet a Cat when you encounter one on the street”. His rules are often symbolic and this one is probably the most symbolic of them all. Today I took it literally and made two new friends. My neighbours cat, and my neighbour who I had never talked to before. Experimenting with this was definitely a net-win. Sure I was slightly cold, wondering if I might have to adopt this cat since it wouldn’t leave me alone now, and worrying about the time I was potentially wasting. I needn’t have worried about any of those things. I got warm as soon as I went back inside. The Cat was thinking (for want of a better word) “I like you a lot but Mummy has food- mummy will always be my owner.” This most definitely was not wasted time- I made two new friends.

I’ve thought a fair bit about what in particular has driven certain former friends away- and what has meant that others stayed. I don’t quite have the answer yet. I have noticed a correlation of sorts though. For some of my left-wing friends my faith was always a problem for them- “we really need to get you towards a more materialistic view of the world” (something someone actually said, not something I’m making up). He is no longer a friend. Another friend who was present for this conversation is still a friend- she said after the fact “I was actually really uncomfortable- I don’t understand why we need to convert you”. Some friends were okay with me being economically conservative but “you’re still socially liberal”. I now find the stance of being economically conservative but socially liberal to be entirely nonsensical. If you want to strip away all safety networks: the welfare state and social security/benefits on the one hand and the nuclear family, Church, and community on the other- then you may as well have done with it and be an anarchist.

I still find it interesting that my one former friend correctly analysed the dangers of my faith- they are thus: Christianity is antithetical to a machiavellian driven resentment. “Justice at any cost” is not justice at all for a Christian. This seems to be the motivating drive of a lot of left-wing politics. You might like to call them far-left politics but I don’t think you can call mainstream left-wing politicians far-left. This attitude is indicative of the drives of the Corbynistas who seem to think accosting the children of Conservative politicians makes you a hero. It doesn’t by the way. It is indicative of the attitude of mainstream politicians like Maxime Waters who encouraged the American public to harass government officials they disagree with. This is the nasty politics now.

I knew a not unsizeable amount of Corbyn fans weren’t thrilled by his catch-phrase “kinder, gentler politics”. I think this is mostly because they had no intentions of being kind or gentle. You can be nasty and know it but you can’t be a Christian. You can be Christian, nasty and not know it but you won’t remain either a Christian or nasty for very long. Something has to give. The politics of resentment is distinctly unChristian. In the end I remained a Christian. The people who took issue with my faith are the people who are no longer my friends- the people who understood the depth of my faith remain my friends. They understood it might lead me to a different place than the place they were headed- and thus they were, in my view, partially prepared for my political conversion.

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What about men?

I am walking home listening to Lady Gaga’s Scheibe on full blast and wondering why aren’t there any songs like these for men. It’s a great song about being a strong woman- but why the need to constantly specify that the gender you want to be strong is women? To the point that Lady Gaga sings “When I’m on a mission, I rebuke my condition, if you’re a strong female you don’t need permission.” Strong female. I have no issue with songs about strong women- I have an issue that all the songs of the past 5 years (at least) that are about being a strong person refer solely to women.

Scheibe – Lady Gaga

Then I come home to my latest copy of the Spectator with the front cover eviscerating the most recent attempt by men to find a way to actually be men.

The article itself is innocuous enough- I think the author Lara Prendergast is a conservative type who thinks “oh for heaven’s sake, why can’t men just be men?” My initial reaction to the above cover picture, however, was “great so even when men are trying at self-improvement they are attacked, men can not win”. The article made me wonder about narcissism and vanity- having a body-builder body is useless without someone else to admire it. Is vanity the same as narcissism? Would a narcissist care about externally imposed standards of beauty? These involve paying attention to other people and what they think. All the male narcissists I know don’t toil away at the gym- instead they fart and expect others to enjoy the smell. They go around topless with beer bellies and expect women to swoon at them.

Self-improvement seems to be a very anti-narcissistic thing to aim at. It strikes me that the self-improvement movement amongst men is not actually about narcissism- it is not “me me me”. It is instead “you you you”, what do “you” think of me? Men are desperately searching for the thing that would make them acceptable to society as men. Make men acceptable again.

If this is due to anything it is the near constant assault on men in our culture. People are permitted to say all manner of vile things about men without any recourse- the sorts of things that if a man even dared joke in such a way about a woman he would become a parriah. Feminism really is about hating men these days. Feminism is simultaneously “just about gender equality” and “a movement for women”. When men attempt to set up similar movements for their problems they are called “vicious nasty MRAs”. (For more on this watch Cassie Jaye’s superb movie “The Red Pill”). This is based on the absurd notion that all of the gender issues are womens issues which is garnered by the neo-religious belief in an invisible patriarchy. To suggest you don’t believe the patriarchy exists in modern-day Britain is to commit a foul heresy for which you will be summarily hanged, albeit metaphorically.

This leaves men with no space to discuss the issues that specifically pertain to them- work-place deaths and accidents are overwhelmingly experienced by men, in the UK in 2016/17 97% of all work-place deaths were male, 84% of those who die at sea are men, homelessness overwhelmingly affects men, injust incarceration (mostly men), prostate cancer, male suicide.

The rate of suicide has been on a steady decrease for women whilst the rate of suicide for men did not deline at the same rate. Whilst in 1981 male suicides accounted for 62% of all suicides, ever since the 1990s male suicides have accounted for 75% of all suicides. It appears to me that this stastistic myth-busts the commonly cited “different methods” explanation. This explanation states that men prefer methods of suicide which are more likely to result in completed suicides than women. The disparity between male and female suicide rates has steadily increased, because the female suicide rate decreased at a faster rate than did the male suicide rate. The same methods are availabe to be used now as were used 37 years ago in 1981.

A number of months ago I was in Manchester Victoria station looking at an advertisement about male suicides. I said out loud “oh God bless you for trying but no one cares”. Earlier that week I had found out that in the aftermath of my friends suicide, a mutual friend had been told that the now dead friend was “just a privileged white man”. Perhaps I was having an off week- that same week on a bus going into Manchester I heard Jordan Peterson speak in a Radio 5 interview. He was crying about the state of young men in the western world- he was crying about “privileged young white men”. I cried right along with him, publicly on the bus- because I could not help it. I realised it was the first time I had heard anyone truly care about the state of men. The first time I had heard their problems taken seriously instead of dismissive and frankly inept counter-explanations (like the “different methods” explanation).

Another inept counter-explanation: Sexual abuse against men is a male issue- it is not a feminist issue because toxic masculinity makes it hard for men to open up. I have heard this explanation offered by feminists and I think it requires a substantial amount of narcissism to make someone elses problem really your problem. If I offer a kinder alternative to narcissism it might be ideological possession. Men are not allowed to have problems not because of “toxic masculinity”. Men are not allowed to have problems because of the set of presuppositions that modern-day feminists extort as unchallengable dogma. So feminists do intellectual gymnastics to make mens issues really feminist issues.

So I listened to Jordan Peterson cry and I publicly wept. Yes- “male tears” and please drink them feminists. The more male tears you gleefully boast at having drunk the more that genuinely compassionate people will see the darker side to you. They will avoid you like the plague if they have any sense. A bit like this recent bit of “research” released on the masculine hegemony of the male population experiencing homelessness- yes really. Please carry on because it opens peoples eyes to your truly nasty side. Only someone ideologically possessed would be unable to see it.

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The World According to Rhys

I have not posted on my little blog now for quite some time. Much has happened in between now and my last post. I’ve realised though that in reality my posts are nothing more than a little whinge about what annoys me and some attempts at a larger analysis thrown in. I have not got the mental energy for the analysis. I am at peak irritation with the world though, and lest I have a potentially fatal argument with a friend or family member- I post this here for those that actually want to read it. My list of current annoyances:

1) Islam is just a race now. No forget that ginger-haired jihadi convert. Forget those Lebanese Christians. Arabs are Muslims are Arabs are Muslims. This is the world we live in according to the left. Apparently to state that “Islam is incompatible with western society” is “Islamophobic” and I ought be locked up for some hideous hate crime. Never mind the gays being thrown off buildings. Never mind the terrible survival rate of a trans person in the middle east (the American South that the left loves to whinge about looks positively trans-friendly by comparison if you want to know). Never mind that a woman must walk around wearing a plastic bin bag or be disowned by her entire family. Never mind that if you are raped in certain places in the Middle East then you daren’t report it to the police because they will stone a woman for having “extra-marital sex”. To mention any of this and find it abhorrent is racist because Islam is now a race.

2) I am meant to be more afraid of Catholicism than I am of Islam. I came out to my lovely Catholic Priest who said “oh I thought you were a 16 year old boy to be honest” followed by “what else is new? You’re in the Church choir for heavens sake- if we kicked you all out we’d have no choir” followed by “all you need to do is keep coming to Church and keep taking communion” and then when I said I would be physically transitioning he said “well some things are rather beyond my kin”. Terrifying. Apparently I am told that this a fluke- except that my last RC Church was the same, and in fact every other Church I’ve been in whatever denomination. I also didn’t choose the Holy Name Church in Manchester (see also: A Vicar in a Tutu) so as to find a friendly RC Church on purpose- I chose the RC Church nearest to me by walking distance as I prefer not to ride the bus on Sunday thus encouraging a need for Sunday trading. The second week of my being at my current Church, and not knowing that I was trans- the Priest gave a homily part of which was that we ought to accept people struggling with their gender identity. If it is a weird fluke it is so weird that I’m not altogether certain it doesn’t qualify as divine intervention. It baffles me that the atheists who describe this as a “fluke” don’t convert on the spot. I think it is far more likely that the nastiness of the RC Church towards its LGBT Church members is either a thing of the past or a complete work of fiction- or both as the case may be. A thing of the past and thus as regards the current Church, a work of fiction.

Which really basically amounts to having to pretend that nice people are nasty and that nasty people are nice. The world is harsh enough without playing these weird mind games. I am not going to be fooled by pretty looking piranhas but I am especially going to avoid the ones that are so obviously cannabilistic. Where I find kindness in any form I relish in it because it is so rare.

3) Human beings are rather nasty but we are meant to pretend that under the right conditions a Utopia could form even though every single attempt at Utopia has led to the mass-murder of millions. If Communism were a scientific experiment I’d like to know how many failed attempts you’d need before you abandoned the whole experiment or at least concluded it a failure? Answers on a postcard please- only anoraks and people over 30 years old know how to send a post-card and I suspect they might have more of a clue about these things.

4) The worship of youth. It all started with The Beatles. The further away from my youth I get the more I think “youth is stupidity, it’s a weird growing pain that you get over”. Someone who is 50 has twice my life experience and possibly more than that when you consider I spent the first two years going “goo-goo gaga” and the ten years after that were spent trying and failing to climb trees, watching Cartoon Network and reading Rupert the Bear. Children and their mindset should not be taken seriously. Children ought to think naively about the world. They ought to think it should be all sunshine and rainbows. Adults should have grown out of this mindset by the time they are middle-aged. They should not be putting this mind-set on a pedastal. “If a man is not a liberal when he is young he has no heart. If he is not conservative when he is older he has no brain.” Taken to its extreme this youth-worship means votes for 16 year olds and no votes for pensioners. Pensioners have thrice, and sometimes quadruple my life experience. I can not know everything but I can be knowledgeable about the extent of my own ignorance. Personally I believe very much in reverse ageism where no one ever takes anyone seriously who is under the age of 21. What “da yoof” are currently engaging in by claiming the elderly should not vote is reverse ageism and in some instances taxation without representation- people are working into their 70s and 80s, and living to be centenials more often than they ever have. These are people with so much life experience it makes my idiotically youthful head hurt. All I can say is “Logan’s Run” ought to be mandatory viewing. I’m sure Jenny Aggutter was under some strange illusion that she was starring in a sci-fi film and not a guidebook for future generations of “da yoof”. More fool her.

5) The baking of cakes is simultaneously so incredibly important and also not at all important. It is important enough for the gays to take it to the Supreme Court instead of simply finding a different sodding baker- but so insignificant that the baker should have just baked the cake. It either matters a lot or it doesn’t matter at all but fellas- you need to pick a thing. If it was so insignificant then it takes no time at all to find and use a baker that actually wants to bake you a wedding cake. As far as I can see at the moment 🎶”It’s beginning to look a lot like fascism, everywhere you go”.🎶 If it matters enough that you feel like you could destroy a family business over it and not lose any sleep then clearly it matters. Sleeping on bed sheets most likely sown in slave labour factories in the Phillipines- you’ll excuse me if I don’t mistake your selfish childlike need for everyone to agree with you as some sort of noble political activism.

6) We are running out of Jeremy Clarkson’s- not the reformed Chris Tarrant impressionist. The old Top Gear Jezza. They used to be dime a dozen- so much so that when people said he was “a breathe of fresh air” I had to wonder what they were talking about. Provocateurs were ten-a-penny. Not so now- everyone, especially comedians, choose their words carefully. I am world weary, do not suffer fools, and have no reputation to be ruined. Unfortunately you may only get these sorts of ramblings now from youngish bloggers who have no reputation to ruin and pensioner bloggers who have had quite enough of this nonsense. When it all goes to hell in a handbasket- don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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The Conservative Victimhood Complex

The instinct for conservatives to rail against the victimhood complex is a good instinct. Victimhood complexes distort reality. There is no data that can be used to disprove them. Feelings and anecdotal evidence reign supreme. People are perpertual victims even when they are multi-millionaire celebrities. This is often perceived to be the case on the basis of immutable characteristics. White working class Americans were so fed up of being told that black multi-millionaires were the real victims (TM) that in 2016 they voted for Donald Trump- a man who understands this phenomenon and will be brutally honest about how farcical it is.

When black NFL players compared playing in the NFL to being on a slave plantation I began to realise just how distorting this victimhood narrative is. These comments were largely either ignored by left-leaning journos or in some rare instances celebrated. I read recently that in order to believe that we will live in a post-truth era you have to believe that large portions of the populations are no longer interested in truth or reality. My reply is that I do believe that. When white working class men have to placate the concerns of black multimillionaire celebrity athletes- these identity politics are not based in anything close to reality. If we can be optimistic about anything it is that SJWs are no longer trying to hide their hatred of the white working class anymore as evidenced by the following tweet (which has now been taken down).

Sunlight is the best disinfectant and the more brutally honest the SJWs are- the more people begin to see their vile hatred. Zinnia and those like her are not poor misguided souls, but hateful bigots. I was asked recently to remember that the real problem is the true bigots. I replied that many SJWs are the true bigots.

What surprises me is that this madness didn’t self-destruct in the aftermath of the OJ Simpson trial in the 90s. If ever there were a moment to reassess the victim narrative around race it should have been then. A multimillionaire athlete murders his wife- but manages to get half the country on his side simply by playing the race card. OJ Simpson was not a poor oppressed black man. He was a violent abusive multimillionaire celebrity. On the basis of his skin colour he was portrayed as a victim- and he got away with murder. It should have been clear then just how distorting the victimhood complex is.

Unfortunately what I now see is that instead of fighting against this victimhood complex- conservatives are adopting their own victimhood complex. They are assuming the mantel of an institutionally oppressed minority. No amount of surveys or statistical data will disprove it- anecdotal evidence and feelings reign supreme.

Let me just say that there is a factual basis to the notion that conservatives are being persecuted, but that is also true of the black population. The trouble with victimhood complexes are that they are usually based on a kernel of truth- the reaction is to deny it all including the portions of this, for want of a better word, oppression that may be true. I don’t intend to do that to conservatives. This is based on a kernel of truth- and that deserves to be talked about. So-called Antifa do riot when conservatives come to speak on college campuses. Conservative students do have a hard time being honest about their political views with their peers. Many conservatives do lose friends when they are honest about their views.

As Douglas Murray says though “the water is not that bad”. I suspect that the fear may be stronger than the potential reactions. Conservatives need to stop hiding. They need to be honest. Most of all they need to stop persecuting themselves. If you’re afraid to speak and you never do and you assume all the reactions will be terrible- then you have no claim to a victimhood complex. If you were to come out and speak- you would find that a lot of lefties, even some SJWs, want to hear alternative viewpoints. They don’t want to live in an echo chamber. They may disagree with you. You will learn to defend your views and to change them if they are indefensible. That is a good thing. I’m also learning that the people you lose along the way are not worth the time. I have lost about 30-odd people I used to call friends over politics. I don’t grieve over any of them anymore.

I know that the kernel of truth is real because I have experienced it first hand, but I also know that there are lefties who won’t immediately shun you because you have a different point of view. These people challenge you. It makes you a better person to have to defend your views. You might even learn something from them- even if it is as simple as understanding why they think what they do even if you vehemently disagree. The water is not that bad. So my plea to conservatives is this- please don’t take that kernel of truth and turn it into a victimhood complex. Victimhood complexes distort reality, and we can do better than that.

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