Inciting Incident Blog #22 – TDoV2017, ReasonCon3

This is the first day of Trans Visibility for which I am completely out. I feel like it’s only necessary to bullet point my journey and present state, especially for those in the back who think we don’t need things like this.

-I was named Marissa when I was 18. My girlfriend’s last name was McCool at the time, and I liked the ring of it. Alexa is a reference to my deadname.

-I’ve always known I was different. I came out as transgender for the first time in 2014. It didn’t end up well.

-I went on hormones July 13th, 2016. I didn’t come out publicly until October, mostly out of fear of being visibly queer.

-It took me until January 23rd, 2017 to be officially out on all my web presences. The response has been about 98 percent positive, and I’m quite aware that I’m one of the lucky ones for that.

-I’ve suffered 3 sexual assaults in my life that I know of. I say “that I know of” because one could’ve been once, or it could’ve been every night for six weeks, or anything in between. Two were from cis girls. One was from a cis guy. These are for reference, not relevance.

-My podcast has completely changed because of my coming out on episode 70, as have my appearances on other podcasts, my activism, publishing books, and daily life. I regret nothing.

-Today, I got the trans-flag heart tattooed on my left wrist with the word “Visible” in the white bar. I will be visible for those who cannot, and for those who don’t think there are people who cannot.

-The current administration is doing all they can to roll back LGBT rights and public presence. Not all Trump supporters support this, but a lot are quick to tell me that nothing will really change. I beg to differ. Baby steps in one direction are still going in that direction.

-Many cis people like to tell me that I’m overreacting, complaining, whining, or that they support us but they’re not going to do anything like march in parades because it won’t change anyone’s mind. I like to remind them that gay marriage determined an election in 2004, and became national law in 2015. It wasn’t because gay people politely waited their turn in silence. We do not have the luxury of waiting to find out what they want to do.

Lastly, I’m going to share a letter sent to me today, because I don’t know if I could’ve received a more meaningful letter from a cis person on this day. Thank you, and I look forward to hugging you and everyone else at ReasonCon3. I will be there with a table, my new book False Start, my first book under my name The PC Lie, t-shirts, and 8x10s. Thank you, all of you, for being who you are. Unless you’re an asshole. Then don’t be who you are, today or any other.

Marissa,

I’m writing this letter to you because, well….140 characters just isn’t sufficient.

I recently had a Twitter exchange with you concerning the EPIC “fuck-you” to “Pastor Carl.” Following that, I found and downloaded several podcast episodes and decided to start with episode 82. I recognized Callie’s name from the ReasonCon ads and thought it would be interesting hear you interview her.

Before going too far, I’d like to explain myself a little. I hope my impetus for writing to you will become clear by the end.

I think it’s fair to say that my thoughts regarding gender and sexual expression have evolved in recent years. Considering my upbringing, one might go so far as to say that I’ve undergone a fundamental shift in perspective. I don’t believe that I’ve ever hated or been afraid of anyone, at least not that I’m aware of. (With respect to the words Homophobic or Transphobic, I’ve come to the conclusion that, far from being afraid of other people’s orientations, those to whom this designation may apply, are afraid of what the acceptance of people in these groups might reveal about them.)

My best friend—who I’ve known for 22 years since we were roommates in christian college—is gay and only recently came out to his parents and friends. He came to see me one day—about two years ago—and said, “We need to talk.” He looked nervous but resolute and suddenly just said, “So…uh…I’m gay.” I looked back into his eyes, smiled and said, “Yeah…I know.” At which point he collapsed into the
nearest chair and began breathing again. He looked up, met my eyes, and asked me how long I’d known. I said, “Well, probably about 12 years….when I found gay porn on our computer.” (He and I had rented a house and lived together while working at the same Christian school as middle school teachers)

He chuckled at the irony, then we laughed together for a minute or two. I walked to him, gave him a hug, told him I loved him, and we cried together. His tears of joy—perhaps relief is a better word—probably had something to do with the fact that he had deliberately avoided telling me until after he had told every other person in his life. He said that he wasn’t sure how I would react. Mine
were tears of relief mixed with an intense pain. Relief, because my friend had finally told me the secret I knew he was hiding. Pain, caused by the realization that the early years of our friendship—a time when I could safely be described as absurdly religious—cast a cloud over this conversation, to the point that he told his Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Baptist parents before telling me. (This friend is also one of only 4 people in my ambit who knows that I’m an atheist. After talking to my wife, he was the first person I told.)

I say all of that to illustrate, not my compassion for others, my love of all people, (insert other useless platitude here), but to show how utterly hopeless I was at communicating my actual feelings to my bestfriend. He didn’t know if I was “safe.”

Now that I’ve exposed one of my great fears (and one of my only regrets), I need to tell you why I’m writing this absurdly protracted letter to someone I’ve never met. I listened to episodes 82 and 83 of the Inciting Incident podcast. In ep. 83, Callie spoke about activism and doing what one can to get involved. I realized that, although my only real contact with anyone in the Trans community has been on Twitter, I have a moral obligation to, if nothing else, tell my daughter the truth. I can’t change an entire culture, but I can ensure that at least one child will grow up knowing the truth. Recently, my daughter and I were watching some show on Netflix. She said something about one of the characters and then made a categorical statement regarding relationships which needed to be corrected. (She’s at that age where confidence meets ignorance of reality) She said something like,

“He’s a boy, Daddy. Boys have girlfriends, not boyfriends.” (What I’m about to describe happened so quickly that I’m tempted to think that I had already, subconsciously, thought the entire thing through)

My initial impulse was to respond with an unemotional correction. My response was short, and deliberately so. In that moment, it wasn’t necessary to overwhelm her with all the various ways in which consenting adults couple themselves. I simply said, “Actually, there are a lot of boys who have boyfriends.” (Please understand that I’m still trying to examine my own motivation for this tactic of moral instruction. I wanted her to hear the truth without any of the emotion this topic tends to elicit, especially here in NC. I don’t know if it was the right way to do it. I want her to be able to take that idea and extrapolate from there. Again, I don’t know if I’m right or wrong here.)

I just told her the truth. I didn’t make any clarifying statements, moral judgements, nor did I encourage her to frame her perception of the issue in any way. I just told her the truth. I want to believe that the truth is enough. I don’t know if I’m doing this the correct way. I welcome any constructive criticism.

I found myself crying at work the other day. I had made the mistake of listening to episode 82 while at work. I started sniffling during Callie’s story about the dating website, her uplifting and encouraging interaction, followed by the crushing reality that clichés (Ignorant Redneck, etc.) exist for a reason. By the time she got to the “Nerd-Castle,” I was a mess. I can’t explain why I reacted this way, other than to say that the beauty and (if you’ll forgive the expression…I’ll try to explain what I mean by it) the utter “ordinariness” of it was so touching. For a moment, I glimpsed a world where the kind of romance Callie described is beautiful even if, or perhaps especially if, I don’t share the sexual orientation or gender identities with the people whose story I’m being told. I’m so new to this that I’m unsure if it’s appropriate, or even kind, to phrase it this way. I hope you’ll forgive—and correct if necessary—my ignorance on this point.

I kept listening, after sneaking some tissues in the bathroom. When Aiden finished his story—leaving you and Callie momentarily speechless—I was a total wreck. I knew I was going to listen to back episodes of your podcast, but I was blissfully unaware of what was coming next. The following morning I clicked on Episode 81 (I think) where you spoke about consent.

Describing my reaction to this is difficult. I was driving to work and had to pull my car over more than once. My vision through the rain soaked windshield was blurred by a torrent of tears. I sat there, crying with you, but not anywhere near you. It’s a strange mixture of emotional connection (on my end) and complete ignorance of the other person’s existence (your end).

It occurred to me that my impetus for attending ReasonCon (Which happens to be in my hometown…where I am a closeted atheist) had changed. Initially, I wanted to meet Aron Ra, Matt Dillahunty and Lawrence Krauss. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I was more excited about meeting you and Callie then about taking selfies with some of my favorite celebrity atheists!

At the close of the show you admitted your incomprehension as to why anyone would have spent their time listening. The fact that I feel the same way is precisely why I had to write to you. I got onto Twitter about a year and a half ago. I’m deliberately anonymous and have, until very recently, taken great pains to conceal this from my family. I don’t know any atheists in Hickory. In fact, I don’t know anyone from who will be in attendance at ReasonCon. My desperation for community led me to Twitter. Twitter has allowed me to “be myself” without anyone I know being affected. This cannot last. I know that, at some point, I will be “outed” (forgive my usage of the expression) and my entire family will know. I don’t fear this, with one exception. My mother. Telling her, at her age, would almost be a cruelty. At least that’s how I’m rationalizing my cowardice.

I’ve written too much.

I am afraid of telling my religious family members that I have “misplaced” my faith. It’s pathetic, I know. You had the courage to scream your name into the void and show your true face to the world. With that in mind—and with no small amount of admiration—I want to show you my face, and ask if you will be my friend.

Sincerely,

-This is why I speak up. This is why I’m visible. This is why I’m an activist. Thank you. You know who you are.

I will have a merchandise table at ReasonCon3 with my books, as mentioned above. I always welcome hugs, so please don’t hesitate to do so. My terms of peace with Callie are that she is the greatest hugger, but I’m the greatest hug receiver.

Inciting Incident Blog #21 – The Experience

There isn’t one second of the day that I’m not grateful for what has happened in my life, the last few months especially. I’m now legally myself, and I have the correct gender marker on my driver’s license. The projects I’ve pursued have gained me the pleasure of knowing many new people, and I am not for one second ignorant of that.
However, I can’t say it’s been a path of no resistance.

When you write a book that starts by saying “fuck you,” it’s going to have some backlash. It comes with the territory, and I’m not denying that. But sometimes when you get misinterpreted, it gets frustrating. When you get corrected by someone, it depends on the correction, and the person giving it. But when things are assumed about you, you’re told you’re downright wrong, or you’re instructed on how to do your own job, that’s when I start getting annoyed.

There are those who tell me that I don’t understand the mind or mentality of certain people, and they’re absolutely right. For instance, the biggest reason I’ve loathed country music all my life is that the people who listened to that music when I was growing up beat the shit out of me pretty regularly. I’d hear these songs about beer, girls in blue jeans, pickup trucks, and campfires, and I’d associate them with pain, isolation, and anguish. Then I was expected to embrace that very subculture, even want to be a part of it, but it could never happen. Not with my experience, regardless of my identity.

Notice that I didn’t say I didn’t like country music fans there. That’s personal. I don’t care for a certain subculture. That’s not the same thing as disrespecting the people within it.

The same goes for Donald Trump voters.

Now, let me be clear: the ones driving the anti-trans bus, the ones trying to push us back in the closet, the ones trying to force their religion on everyone else, and the ones trying to legislate discrimination as long as it’s their beliefs oppressing everyone else’s can all go fuck themselves. That’s not what I’m talking about. Let’s just say that I’ve had to converse with some Trump supporters who want to tell me that they’re not all like that, and they’re right. I never said they were, nor do I think anyone who votes a certain way is a bad person, necessarily.

But understand that I don’t have the luxury of that levity. Our community does not have that luxury. And there’s nothing more insulting than someone from without; for instance, a straight cis white man; telling me that my perspective of the world is wrong.

The same way that I don’t understand the perspective of a Donald Trump voter or a country music fan, I also don’t technically know the perspective of a straight cis white man. I passed as one for a long time, but it was all a mask; a mask that I threw off once I couldn’t take it anymore.

But that doesn’t mean I have to respect your opinion either.

I do not know what it’s like to be you. I cannot possibly fathom how you can look at this bumbling, arrogant, thin-skinned, disrespectful person and think: “yeah, that’s how a person should act, let alone the leader of the free world.” Most of the time when that discussion is had, deferments are made instead of actual arguments: but her emails, but Obama, but Pennywise… Changing the subject is not an argument. Irrelevant comparison is not an argument.

And neither is telling a queer person what the world is actually like.

Once again, I point out the fact that I don’t understand the perspective of a Trump voter. I can have that dissonance. But how in the everloving holy fuck is a straight cis person going to explain the queer experience to me? They’ve tried, to the point of telling me that I’m wrong, dumb, incorrect, warped, stupid, crazy, ignorant, and beyond. Or worse, I’m told that no one actually has a problem with queer people and that I’m bitching and whining about nothing.

Fuck you.

I acknowledge that I’m a privileged queer person. I have an audience, a platform, and a university and family that supports and acknowledges my identity. But to say that my perspective of what it’s like in the world being visibly queer is wrong, especially coming from someone who could not be less that? No. Sorry.

There is a political party in this country that has done all they can to fuck with us. It won them a goddamn election in 2004, because gay people getting the right to marry would do something to the social fabric or whatever. Two years ago, an argument over who can use the fucking bathroom put us on a hypervigilant that has not subsided since. I’ve had to ask people to walk to the bathroom with me. I’ve had to ask people to walk me to my car. I’ve been sexually assaulted. I’ve been threatened. I’ve been misgendered. I’ve been disrespected. And to suggest that none of these things are issues is to deny that I understand my own experience of the world.

No more that I can tell a straight cis person what it’s like to be who they are, nobody who has not lived with that experience can tell me that I’m wrong about it. Sure, queer acceptance is at an all-time high. However, there’s now a bus traveling the country openly dehumanizing us. Milo Fuckface targets people and says they’re mentally ill, and the only time people develop a problem with him is when he makes favorable remarks about a child molester. Politicians treat us like an inhuman sexual predator drone, which inevitably has people patrolling the bathrooms looking to fuck with some transpeople, and makes us super self conscious and paranoid.

Why, you might ask? Because you never know who you’re going to walk by when you’re openly queer. You never know who is going to rage that you’re holding hands with someone of the same gender. You never know who is going to decide to murder you for being trans, and though I cannot speak personally to this part of the experience, especially if you’re a person of color. Eight this year have been murdered already for having the nerve to exist.

We do not make the choice to be who we are. Our choices lie in how open we choose to be about it. We are often reduced to “what goes on in the bedroom” or “the privacy of your own home” but that is bullshit. No straight or cis person is told that they can only be who they are in private, and nobody ever should. That’s fucking bullshit for anyone to say to anyone. We are not a sum of our parts, and we are not only queer for what we do in the bedroom. That reduces us to sexual acts, which is what our detractors think of us as anyway, and the whole vicious circle begins again. But some people want to tell me these things don’t exist?

You don’t know the half of it. Even if every single person you knew didn’t mind queer people and never committed a single hateful act toward one, it’s still anecdotal. Unless you’re following me around, cataloguing every interaction I have, and documenting the non-verbal ones, there’s no way you could possibly know my experience, and I wouldn’t expect you to. But to dismiss all of what I say based on not agreeing with it is to accuse me of false representation of myself, of making things up, of creating a situation to supposedly whine about when there are real life and death issues facing our community every day. But it makes you uncomfortable when I talk about that, and that means I’m supposed to talk about something else? Not gonna happen.

You still elected a person who has advocated for doing so. Even if that’s not the reason you voted for him, you voted for him despite it, and your choice put all of us in danger. But I’m supposed to give everyone a pass because… You don’t like it, I guess? Nope, sorry.

That’s why I speak up. That is why I’m open about my experiences. Because so many queer and transpeople either cannot, will not, or aren’t in a position where they can. I know I’m lucky for what I have, but don’t for a second think that means I’m free of danger. I risk violence and worse simply by existing, but being loud and critical while being queer is doubling down on that. It’s a situation you cannot possibly empathize with, and not being able to doesn’t make you a bad person. Your shitty opinion that you think you know who I am better than I do, though? Yeah, I’m going to call that out.

Most of the time, I think these comments have good intentions. I don’t think most people set out to be shitty to another person. But perhaps when a minority speaks up, you might want to listen to what they have to say before you dismiss it or defend yourself. The fact that you’re even talking to us probably means that we’re not talking about you anyway. Good intentions don’t mean that the results aren’t shitty though. While someone may be trying to get me to see a different perspective, assuming or correcting my perspective and experience only comes across as condescending and disrespectful. It’d be like me trying to tell a trans person of color what their experience is. Sure, I have certain similarities, but I’ve never lived that existence, and it would be foolish of me to think I know better than they do. That is the only reason I don’t speak up about that more than I do; I cannot speak to that experience, except to say that the targeting of transpeople of color is sickening, and something needs to be done about it.

One last thing… There’s a particular comment recently that had something that stuck in my craw beyond what I’ve discussed here, as these are generalized criticisms I’ve received since coming out, not referencing any in particular. The funny thing is, this one had nothing to do with my experience, but simply a complete lack of regard for who I am. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already pissed at me, but allow me to say the following first, and yes, this applies to everyone:

1. Don’t EVER tell me what to write, especially on my blog. I decide what I write about.

2. Don’t EVER talk about my genitals. Especially bringing them up in a post that didn’t even mention them. Unless you’re my husband or girlfriend, it’s none of your fucking business.

3. You can call me many things… Some true, some less so… But to say that I have no tangible skills and a lazy work ethic? That goes beyond being wrong… It’s downright offensive. I can’t tell you how many people have seen that comment and laughed their asses off, because it takes knowing very little of who I am to say something so profoundly incorrect.

First, I’ve been in the work force for 17 years. I have management experience, have a list pages long of professional references, and worked through college as well. It’s easy to assume that all I do is write and podcast, but that is to be ignorant of anything beyond my creative projects, as if I sit and write about wrestling or social justice all day, and then do absolutely nothing else.

Second, a lazy work ethic may be the dumbest thing anyone has ever said about me, ever. It doesn’t take knowing much about me to know that the amount of time and care I put into my projects alone speaks to the notion otherwise. I created, host, edit, publish, and promote my own podcast, and I co-host on two others. I just started my eighth book, and third since November. I write two columns a week, maintain a blog, release one podcast a week consistently and on time, appear regularly as a guest on other podcasts, have a photography business, travel to work with other people, and all of this is under the umbrella of my own business which I started with the help of a Harvard lawyer who is also my business manager and laughed harder than anyone at the notion that I might be lazy.

Beyond creative projects, I’ve been commuting 100 miles each way four days a week to an Ivy League school, and that was after two years of community college, so essentially I’ve been a full-time college student for six years. It’s only been this long because almost nothing transferred, so I had to do it over again. So I did all those aforementioned creative projects WHILE maintaining my education at an elite level under those circumstances with that daily commute while working the entire time, being a wife, being a girlfriend, being a parent, being a friend, and traveling all over the country on top of it. I’ve worked in over five states THIS FUCKING MONTH! I’m writing this from goddamned Vermont! In five weeks I will graduate one of the top ten universities in this country under these circumstances after not having passed a year of high school when I was younger, and then working for a decade to get enough stability to manage something like this.

I have worked my ass off for more than half my life, most of it with no cushion or safety net, and I’ll be damned if someone who doesn’t even know me calls me lazy. I’m more than happy to discuss the other things, and my issues with those opinions are made quite clear in this piece, but don’t EVER fucking call me lazy again. I’ve had people ask me to write books on both my work ethic and my time management. Again, I don’t think you’re a bad person, but I am going to disrespect the fuck out of that opinion, because it’s a shitty fucking opinion and deserves to be pointed out as such.

I’ve strived for kindness in any critical response I’ve gotten, and I will continue to do my best until I am disrespected. But don’t ever presume to tell me my experience is wrong, especially when you couldn’t ever possibly begin to empathize with it, and know who the fuck you’re talking about when you use words to describe a person in a critical manner. My work ethic was lazy as far as you could tell? Well, you weren’t looking very hard then, and I’d suggest reaching out to the person before posting such things in public where they’re not likely to be met with the most positive of responses. I am more than willing to engage anyone in conversation about differing opinions, but challenging my work ethic isn’t an opinion. It’s ignorance, and I’d appreciate it if you and anyone else who criticizes me would recognize that from now on.

And if you like my writing about wrestling but not what I say about other issues, I’d suggest sticking with the wrestling writing, where the most controversial thing I say is that Randy Orton segments of television make me yearn for something more exciting, like Roman Reigns reciting the unabridged dictionary after taking downers.

I am Marissa Alexa McCool. I fought like hell for that name, and I’ve been through hell to get it. I do the best I can to accommodate all perspectives, opinions, and insights, but I will not tolerate someone telling me that my own story is wrong. Not a chance in hell.

Inciting Incident Blog #20 – Santa Monica

This past week I was in Santa Monica, among other places. One of the most amazing parts of being in California was the fact that nobody stared. Nobody gave me awkward glances. Nobody even gave me any kind of a problem whatsoever.
Similar to the story in the book I wrote about Portland, Maine, it was incredibly relieving to walk down the street and not get any awkward glances.

Maybe when you get to live in California, seeing someone who is visibly queer isn’t that big of a deal, but when you have to deal with the stares and accusative glares more often than not, it feels like being in a different world.

I did a photo shoot in Santa Monica this weekend, and there were literally throngs of people on the pier. Not one of them gave me even the slightest of problems. Not one of them questioned my name when I said it was Marissa. Not one of them saw me in a dress and made a snide remark. Not one of them questioned what bathroom I should be using.

Sometimes the conservatives talk shit on California like it’s this dystopian wasteland, apart from the “real America.” Well, in the supposed “unreal America,” I was treated better by strangers than my own neighbors in Pennsylvania. For all the shit spoken on California, it must be hell to go to a place where people are accepted for who they are and don’t have to hide. It must be hell to walk down the street and not have to fear who the crazy or anti-LGBT people are. Even the LA Republicans at least leave you alone.

Why do we have to have this disparity? Why in my own country do I have to pick out certain areas that might be “safe?” Why is it that a certain segment of the country has such a problem with what other people do with their lives, and are also the same ones bitching about government taking away their “freedom?” I think when people complain about losing their freedom, they’re usually talking about losing their freedom… to be racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic, and bully without consequence. If your biggest problem in life is that you’re no longer allowed to be a shitty person, you need to re-evaluate your priorities.

One store owner had the sweest remark of all. I made a joke in the Purple Galore store (PURPLE EVERYTHING!!!!) and said it was nice to be in a place where nobody was giving me a problem. She gave me the most innocent of looks and said, “why would anyone give you a problem?” Completely clueless as to what I’ve meant. Why can’t I live in that country? Why do I have to live in the one the right people fight hardest for is the one to hurt other people? And why is fighting against that somehow equated with weakness and snowflakes? Bullshit.

Inciting Incident Blog #18 – To Relate is to Humanize

It would be very nice if we weren’t all beings that needed to experience something personal before it perhaps changes their mind about something. It’s not an uncommon occurrence for transpeople to be the first ones that someone knew who was trans (that they know of.)

A fellow podcaster, and someone quickly becoming a good friend of mine, Felicia from Utah Outcasts, was talking to me about how hard it may be to understand what it’s like. Even with her being an ally, supporter, and friend, she still struggles with the direct empathy, and our following conversation helped with that. I only named her because she specifically asked me to.

I decided to write about this because, for some reason, I’m usually able to put something in my head into a context that most people can accept, or at least understand. Maybe it’s all the years on camera, writing, and performing, or just something at which I’m naturally adept, but either way, I’m glad I can do this because it helps put a human face on this issue. For so many transpeople, they are demonized by people they’ve never met and have no idea what the personal experience is like (Fuck you, Milo.) It wasn’t until gay people were humanized for a majority of the population that the swift social change took place, taking us from re-electing GW because of catching the gay, and marriage equality becoming national law eleven years later.She was open, but thought she could never really “get” it.

I started off by asking her a question. In situations like this, it’s always important for an open-ended inquiry that gauges someone’s common experience so that the gap can be bridged. It’s far harder to do with someone hostile, but it still holds true. We are more easily accepting of similarities than differences as a species. Given her experience and position at which she arrived in podcasting, I basically asked if there had ever been anything she’d done where she knew it was the right thing and it was her decision to make, but people rejected her for it, to the point of believing they knew better than you, for religious or any other reason.

Felicia opened up about her divorce and how she was pretty much on her own handling it. She had family side with the other, and was told repeatedly how there is no divorce in the eyes of God. Marriage is forever. Divorce is a sin. She had a very difficult journey through people who are supposed to love her no matter what treating her that way.

Then I said, “Okay, now imagine you were born into that marriage, but you never wanted to be married in the first place, and you still got that reaction. Imagine everyone felt the right to tell you that you were born unhappilIy married and even though you’ll get divorced, you’re really still married. It’s a dismissal of your identity, of your personhood, of other people telling you that they have more of a right to define who you are than you do.

That’s the point where she brought up there being no divorce in the eyes of God, according to those accosting her. I related to that too, because I get told God doesn’t make mistakes which is why my gender identity can’t possibly be legitimate or valid.

I feel like the next part of the exchange can only be quoted instead of summarized, simply because I couldn’t possibly say it any better than it went down between the two of us.

FELICIA: For me it was like digging my way out from my own grave, and there were those who told me the grave was were I was supposed to be. Trying to push me out. And no matter how much they hurt me, or how much they said I was wrong, I’d seen the sky and I couldn’t go back in the grave.

MARISSA: Yes. That is what it was like the first time someone called me a girl, called me Marissa. I couldn’t pretend it wasn’t anymore.

FELICIA: And you had seen inside yourself and you liked what you saw there.

MARISSA: I knew it was right. Correct. Who I really was. No matter who said it wasn’t so.

FELICIA: And the overwhelming joy despite the pain of what others did meant I had to keep going.There’s wasn’t a choice anymore.

This. This. So much this. Maybe I shouldn’t have to do this, but this is why I make myself so open and available, because many transpeople are not in a place where they can or are able to do that themselves. But the only way it’s going to become more reasonable in society as a whole is if there is a human face on it beyond Caitlyn Jenner’s. Our sense of empathy is more strongly provoked by being able to know someone, see it for yourself, and understand that experience. I’ve been on the other side of that equation for many things, and hopefully we can progress beyond needing to do that someday.

For now, I just thought this was a pretty damn cool exchange, and I’m grateful that Felicia let me talk about it to all of you.

Inciting Incident Blog #17 – Things Won’t Change, Right? Oh Wait, They Totally Did!

Aiden, bright, coming out, CURRENT EVENTS, gender identity, giddy, journey, LGBT, LGBT marriage, Marissa Alexa McCool, married life, mtf, optimistic, Rissy Monster, sexuality, trans, transgender

Source: Inciting Incident Blog #17 – Things Won’t Change, Right? Oh Wait, They Totally Did!

Inciting Incident Blog #17 – Things Won’t Change, Right? Oh Wait, They Totally Did!

But not for the worse.

Let me back up…

When I first went on hormones and began announcing my transition to people, I was under the false impression that outside of my gender and name changing, everything else would stay pretty much the same. It’s still me, right? This is just the version I’ve been hiding from most people most of my life, but it’s not all that different. Makes sense, right?

I was so unbelievably wrong, and I think that’s okay too.

I’ll elaborate…

If you haven’t noticed, I almost always refer to myself as a girl, rather than a woman or a lady. That’s not unintentional. Anyone who has been around me in the last few months has seen my bright optimism, giddiness, bounciness, and tendency to speak in cute non-words up front and personal. I never got to be the little girl I was, so now I live in that perpetual state of being the girl I’ve always been. It’s not a mental dynamic as much as it is being myself, and people tend to associate those behaviors with younger girls. That, and I just like the word better.

But after so many years of being discontent, depressed, and repressed, it comes as a shock to people who got used to me that way. It seems over the top or out of place, and I realize that a key part of my personality was always hidden except for to an exclusive few. And even they only got hints to it. Trust me, Aiden was not privy to this often before my transition. Now it’s nearly a daily thing.

However, sexual orientation is different from gender identity, and that’s not something that necessarily changes with transition, right?

Wrong again!

I was never into guys before Aiden, save for maybe a passing attraction. Now, I unabashedly have several male celebrity (and several non-celebrity) crushes, and I openly talk about it. The interesting thing to me is that everyone finds this normal, because it’s something commonly associated with a “Straight” girl. I’m by NO means straight, but from someone who was socialized to gay and feminine being a bad thing, there’s not that extra element to it. I’m certainly not complaining, but I was expecting more resistance to that idea, but like many of my expectations based on previous experience, nobody really notices.

Even my interests have changed on some level. Part of it may be the NFL being an overall shitty and hard-to-watch company, but I paid less attention to football this year than I ever have. I spent most of the Super Bowl with Madge and Anna playing music. I can’t imagine doing that any other year. I’m reading more than ever and getting a lot more invested in fiction than I ever have. My new favorite author is certainly Rainbow Rowell, and I’ll be damned if nearly every character she writes doesn’t speak to me. I only experienced that once in my entire life prior to this, and the final words of that book are tattooed on my arm!

Most important, all of the changes for the most part have been positive, because I. Am. So. Fucking. Happy! Not that I don’t get down or emotional at times, but I’m not used to this feeling of not having to hold back, not having to repress, not having to hide. I can walk around in a skirt and makeup now and nobody who matters gives a shit. I’m still getting used to it, but that is such a new concept to me. Maybe I could’ve been doing this much earlier, but I doubt it. I have never felt so loved, appreciated, respected, admired, and known than I am now, and I’m flattered beyond humility. This is, next to marrying Aiden, the best decision I’ve ever made, and I thank you for putting up with my incessant rambling, train obsessions, and girly noises. It’s only getting better.