week in review

Sunday, March 26th, 2017 11:38 pm
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Driving into the parking lot at work on Monday, I noticed the low tire pressure warning light on. There was a nail in my tire. I got the hole plugged at the service station nearby, but they recommended getting the tire replaced as the hole was close to the edge. So I the next day, I got the tire replaced at the Toyota dealership. The price seemed reasonable; I was surprised by that. The "advisor" who handled my case was cool... very gender variant looking. At first she struck me as a butch lesbian. Then I wondered, why did I assume that? Maybe he was FTM. Or maybe they were non-binary like me. His/her/their business card was stapled to my receipt. They have a gender neutral name! Later I wondered if they staple their card to everyone's receipt, and if they were as tickled by my gender variance as I was by theirs. And I wondered if something they had jokingly said early on could be considered flirting.

The waiting room at the dealership had many noises. Two TV's on, tuned to different channels. Kids shrieking and crying. Music playing. Vending machines humming. I had brought my work laptop to do some work while waiting, which I did, but the noise was distracting and stressful. Next time, it would be good to bring my noise-cancelling headphones.

The little fig tree didn't react well to the snow we got a couple weeks ago. The leaves withered and dried up. The pink magnolia reacted similarly. I hope they recover.

On the way to work, another company has a row of trees by the street. I saw them pruning some of the larger trees one day. It was after the trees had already sprouted leaves. (They surely didn't expect to trees to sprout so early this year.) Now when I drive by, the ones that were pruned are all bare, while the other ones still have their pretty green leaves. I hope the pruned ones recover too.

Yesterday I washed the dogs.
While I had the hose unfurled, I also washed the green algae and dirt off of one side of the garage.

I went to Best Buy to see if they have any quiet/silent wired mice, as the scrollwheel on my mouse at work is messing up, even after me taking it apart and cleaning out the dust. I didn't see any particularly good ones at Best Buy, so I ordered 2 from Amazon that were specifically advertised as being quiet. Two, because the one looks good and practical, but the other one looks awesome and lights up. And maybe the way the scrollwheel is on the latter, I can turn it further in a single swipe. I'm sure I'll need another mouse anyway, sooner or later.

I replaced the clear glass lampshades on the ceiling fan light fixture in Qiao's den with some translucent/milky alabaster glass ones, to reduce the glare. I also bought 2 colored LED light-bulbs (green and pink - Qiao chose the colors) to put in the 2 sockets which face us when watching TV, to further reduce the glare, as even 40W bulb equivalents up there seem pretty bright. The colored bulbs, even though they are only 3W each!, are still brighter than I expected them to be.

I raked some of the yard. I washed clothes. I vacuumed, and washed dishes and dog collars. I cleaned the tub using 4 different cleaners, and it's still not as clean as I'd like (I wish I had written down how I got it so clean last time). The "tub grip" (gah, they've increased the price by 50%!) that I applied to the floor of the tub to keep it from being slippery is very good in that regards, but it traps more dirt than a smooth surface would. Ecover used to make a tub/tile cleaner that worked very good, but it's not sold here any more. I'm not sure if a similar one I found on Amazon has the same ingredients or not, but I may get it anyway to try. Because I want my darn tub to be spotless! Then again, I read something about using dish washing liquid mixed with vinegar, which I may try first.

ok or not so kay

Thursday, June 16th, 2016 12:18 am
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Someone mentioned OkCupid in a post of theirs, so I decided to check out my old profile:
Ok. So I'm not exactly male or gay. But they didn't have any options for androgyne and asexual. That's like asking what people's hair color is and only giving options of black and brown to choose from.
And I'm not exactly a donkey either. But oh well, if I were, I'd be one kick-ass donkey.


I never used OkCupid for looking for a partner; I created my account after getting involved with Qiao. He wanted us to compare questions/answers to see how compatible it rated us, for fun. So I didn't put all that much effort into my profile.

Today I surmised that OkCupid might have more gender options nowadays than they did back then. Sure enough, I could now select my gender as agender, nonbinary, etc.

But in order to save those selections, the page forces me to select an answer for "Include me in": "searches for men" or "searches for women" (those 2 options are in a drop-down - you can only select one or the other).

The "include me in" question only shows up if you select an option other than man or woman as your gender.

So. I understand the reasoning, that most people on the site are only searching for men or women, and not selecting one or the other would drastically reduce possible matches. But it rather defeats the point of someone like me entering their real gender.
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HHS Issues Regulations Banning Trans Health Care Discrimination

Federal Register page with link to PDF (scheduled to be published on 05/18)

It even mentions protections for non-binary identified people.

... OCR recognizes that sex stereotypes can include the expectation that individuals consistently identify with only one of two genders (male or female), and that they act in conformity with the gender-related expressions stereotypically associated with that gender. Sex stereotypes can also include a belief that gender can only be binary and thus that individuals cannot have a gender identity other than male or female. OCR recognizes that an individual’s gender identity involves the interrelationship between an individual’s biology, gender, internal sense of self and gender expression related to that perception; thus, the gender identity spectrum includes an array of possible gender identities beyond male and female.

man ma'am

Thursday, May 12th, 2016 12:48 am
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At work, a guy from the cleaning staff came into my cube and swiped his duster across the top of my cabinets. It startled me - in the past, the lady who did it would ask me first if I wanted my cube dusted, and I'd step out of her way while she did it.

As he swiped the first cabinet, this guy said something like "How are you doing, ma'am?" and I replied something like "I'm good". Then, hearing my voice, he corrected himself, saying that from behind, my hair had looked like a guy's. So I realized he had originally addressed me as "man", not "ma'am".

Neither bothers me. I'm neither man nor ma'am, so either is fine with me.

Then I wondered if he had pegged me as female instead of male, if he might not have just walked into my cube like that.

.

I cut my hair a few weeks ago, and have been quite pleased with it. It's short on the sides and back, slightly longer on top, with a longer section in the top-back that could be tied into a small pony-tail. I had the same style several years ago, but maintaining the pony-tail part is difficult... when trimming hair it's much easier to cut it off than to evenly cut around it so that its shape remains circular.

Another good thing is that my left leg is regaining its former flexibility. For a year or 2, I hadn't been able to stretch it without feeling an unpleasant kind of ache. But recently something seems to have clicked back into place... maybe ligaments finally loosening or something, and it's back to a normal feeling.

My bottom thigh muscles still feel slight discomfort simply from the driver's seat pressing against them. But I don't have the nerve spasms anymore, which I had last year. Maybe the extra walking I've been doing has helped on both counts.
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Galavant Season 2 seemed to me to start out a bit slow, but last week's episodes made up for it.

a few spoilers for 'Giants vs. Dwarves' and 'About Last Knight' )
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I like the implication of the pronoun on this mailing.

"Our next president will face many challenges and difficult decisions. But they will also inherit our nation's proud legacy of helping those in need."
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Zorro probably wonders why loud music always starts playing right after ze gets comfy and starts grooming zirself.

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Zorro probably wonders why loud music always starts playing right after they get comfy and start grooming themself.

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[personal profile] marahmarie questioned what pronoun to use for a burping squirrel, and it got me thinking.

There's not much point in using gendered pronouns for animals, as usually there's no need to distinguish them based on their sex. For example, "That bird is squawking so loud, it's giving me a headache." When there is a need to point out an animal's sex, one can simply say so: "That's a male bird"; "That's a female bird".

The pronoun "it" is gender-neutral but also impersonal/depersonalizing. We don't usually call a companion animal "it", but rather "he" or "she", because "it" sounds too impersonal. Generally, we know the sex of our companion animals, so we know which gendered pronoun to use.

Even so, calling animals "he" or "she" based on their sex seems silly to me sometimes. Those pronouns evoke mental gender-related connotations and stereotypes which are even more ridiculous when applied to animals than when applied to people*.

It's not usually obvious however, what sex an unfamiliar animal is. So one can either call it "it", or one can guess and call it "he" or "she".

If some gender-neutral pronoun other than "it" came into common usage for people, we could use it for animals too, both familiar and unfamiliar ones. We would no longer need to distinguish between them based on their sex, nor depersonalize them.

If that happened, I wonder if it would also affect how people think of animals in general. Would people start to feel more kinship/empathy for them? Would people who are unable to feel such empathy tend to call animals "it" while people who felt empathy would use the other pronoun?


* A character in a book I'm reading, in saying good-bye to his horse, said (translated from German) "You're the prettiest, smartest, and most dependable companion one could ever wish for." It was a female horse. If the horse were male, I doubt the character would have called it pretty. Yet, are female horses prettier than male horses? I think not.

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I was also thinking that while "they" is gaining traction as a gender-neutral pronoun, it would be good to have another option. One to use when we don't know or care about a person's gender, and another for people whose gender we know is other than male or female.

The singular pronoun "they" can already be used for both cases. But due to the first usage, it feels somewhat impersonal and distancing. While I don't mind being called "they" (and sometimes would appreciate it), it's not really my preferred pronoun.

But having 2 such pronouns might bring about too many complexities.

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The thoughts that spark a post like this take only a few minutes in my head. Why then, does it take me over 2 hours to put those thoughts into coherent written form? And even then, the sentences feel awkward, and I feel like I'm leaving out half of what I wanted to write?

Transparent

Sunday, January 25th, 2015 03:38 am
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After watching all 10 episodes of the first season, it's still mainly Maura and Ali's characters that hold my interest.

Spoilers follow )
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In movies and shows like Criminal Minds, when women or girls are the victims, most of their on-screen time is spent crying, pleading/begging, whimpering, and screaming.

Whereas when men are the victims, they do much less of that.

Is there anything in real life to corroborate those kind of portrayals? Would a typical woman in that kind of a situation really act like that? Or is it mostly myth? It seems very unreal to me, and grates on my nerves.

When women are the victims, there are frequent cuts between the rest of show's action, to these scenes of crying, whimpering, etc. It is as if those sounds are meant to spur on the people trying to find and save them, or meant to provide a feeling of suspense for the viewers. It's like, oh those poor women are so helpless and in such danger, they must be saved, and quickly!

Wouldn't a real person, regardless of gender, spend more time struggling and trying to escape, as well as trying to verbally reason with their abductor, rather than crying and whimpering? Why are women portrayed as being so emotionally active and physically passive?

toys toys toys

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 10:59 pm
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I decided to send my cousins' kids in Germany some gifts for Christmas. So I stopped by Target and bought some neat stuff. 4 different cute little hats. A pseudo-bag (with a carrying handle and a tiny zipper compartment) in the shape of a "My Little Pony" with a rainbow-colored mane and tail. An orange yo-yo. Some stickers. 2 little toy cars. A "Pinpressions" toy.

I bought a red light saber for myself and Qiao. It lights up, has a motion sensor, and makes light-sabery noises! I couldn't resist.

After getting home, I realized that I had lost the yo-yo on the way to the checkout counter. It wasn't in my bags nor listed on the receipt. So yesterday I went back and bought 2 yo-yos (so that both older kids can have one; can a 6 year old handle a yo-yo?), another PinPressions toy (because they are so much fun), another My Little Pony bag (this one yellow with a pink mane)(because so cute), and another 2 little toy cars (so each kid could potentially have one).

I combed the one pony's mane as it was tangled. I'd like to try out the cars, as I didn't have any of those when I was a kid. Taking them out of their packages would reduce the shipping weight (excuse). I already took the yo-yos out of their packages. I'm tempted to try on the hats, but won't, to avoid stretching them out of shape.

Now if I would stop playing with the toys and actually pack them, the kids might possibly get them before January.

I was debating how to avoid gendering the gifts. Giving the boys My Little Pony bags might not go over so well, while giving them only to the girls could be unfair. The kids are still fairly young - 3 to 10 years old, and I don't know them well enough to know what kind of things they like. Two of the hats were from the boys' section, and two were from the girls' section. But the girls might not necessarily prefer the girl hats or vice versa.

The solution I decided on was to let the kids choose which items they want. Oldest kid can choose one item first, then younger kid can choose 1, and so on until everything is taken.
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At one rest stop in Pennsylvania, there was a group of women dressed in Amish garb (a novel sight for me), and a parked van marked as an "Amish/Mennonite taxi service".

At another stop, Qiao later mentioned that as I was heading into the bathroom, a woman behind me spoke to me, saying that it was the women's bathroom. This surprised me, as I hadn't heard anyone speak to me. It's probably for the best though, as the woman might have felt awkward if I had replied "I know" or "Yeah, that's right". She probably mistook me for a boy as my hair was short, my clothing non-feminine, and I didn't have a purse with me.

pride

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 11:35 pm
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At work, a corporate diversity email was sent out in honor of LGBT Pride month. I thought the sentiment was nice. It was similar to other ones we've gotten for African-American History month, and Hispanic-American pride, etc.

I heard a co-worker a few cubes away, however, joking/scoffing at the email. Saying she sometimes wished she could unsubscribe from all these corporate emails. "When are we going to get a heterosexual pride month?" Something dismissive of transsexual people. And then something like "I don't think we have anyone (LGBT) on this floor, do we?" (simply in a curious questioning tone).

The way she said all this didn't sound hateful to me; I could believe she doesn't really have anything against gay people. (And she probably has no experience with real trans people.) But it also sounded like she doesn't get it.

I started thinking that I could tell her that if she wanted to celebrate pride in her heterosexuality, that's fine. But the reason why LGBT people need Pride marches and such, is to counter-balance the shame, fear, and stigma they've grown up with.

Personally, my gender-neutral trans-ness and asexuality is mostly invisible to others, and I haven't encountered any such stigma myself. It's not something I feel a need to have pride in, nor is it something that I've ever felt bad or ashamed of.

But for gay and trans people who haven't been so lucky and who have faced hatred, bullying, and mocking during their lives, who've felt the need to hide their identity from others, the *pride* is necessary simply to offset that weight of negativity that they've encountered. It's necessary, simply to be able to feel good about themselves. And it's a way to share camaraderie with others.

It's not the same thing to be told, "you're gay and that's ok now, but don't flaunt it". Because not flaunting it can be interpreted as needing to hide it, as any expression of gayness can be interpreted as a flaunting thereof.

Anyway. I wasn't really planning to tell her all that; it simply crossed my mind. Then I thought, she's just reacting to an experience she's not used to; she'll get over it. Someday she'll get used to these kind of things, and that's part of the point of them.

Then I had the idea to send her an email telling her that yes there's someone LGBT on the floor, that I'm trans though probably not in any way she is familiar with. At that thought, my pulse started racing, and I could hear and feel the blood whooshing in my head*. I quickly decided that I couldn't compose any well written email in such a mental state. So I went out to lunch instead.

*Similar to what it used to do in school/college, whenever I seriously considered raising my hand to ask the teacher a question, or to comment on something. That's a big reason why I didn't do that very often; it was so very nerve-wracking.

I do however often feel that I'm not trans enough to call myself trans to others. That they'd say I'm not really trans. They'd deny my identity. (Or laugh and start thinking of me as weird.) They can't even conceive of it. So why even tell anyone?
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After creating the new Facebook account under my real name, I started getting emails "Do you know so-and-so?", including names of some people I know from work. They looked like LinkedIn emails, and I didn't pay much attention to them.

Then I noticed that the emails were from Facebook, not LinkedIn. How did Facebook link me with those people? I haven't yet posted anything on Facebook, haven't friended anyone, and have only filled out a few things on my profile.

Both accounts are set up under the same email address, so maybe it's based on that.

But how did Facebook get info on my LinkedIn connections? At first, I thought that I might not have turned off sharing with 3rd Party Applications in the LinkedIn settings. But I checked the settings, and they were already set not to share my info.

I wonder, has Facebook been sending similar emails to my work colleagues, saying "Do you know [my name]?", and linking to my new account?

My email address is not public on either account. But where I work is visible on LinkedIn. I suppose any 3rd party could do LinkedIn searches to find everyone connected to that company. And I suppose Facebook could use my name to link me up with those other people.

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One thing I've been mentally debating is having my gender publicly visible on the Facebook account. I like that I can display my true gender, "androgyne". It could be a simple way to come out to friends and family who might not otherwise know, without making a big deal of it.

But I was thinking... there are health insurance plans that have clauses that exclude transgender-related expenses, and some (though hopefully few) even go so far as to exclude any services at all for a person who is transgender.

So maybe it would be better *not* to publicly out myself as transgender under my legal name.

And do I really even want to out myself to just anyone from work? Sometimes, I think it would make me seem even more odd from other people's viewpoints.

Maybe I'll set my gender display to friends-only. Though it's likely already been data mined, as that's one thing I've had publicly visible so far.

Not sure I'm even going to use the FB account for anything. Haven't felt inspired to so far.

2016/08/27: changed post visibility from Access List to Public
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It continues to delight me, seeing so many colorful athletic shoes now available and marketed towards both men and women, both boys and girls. Sometimes it isn't even immediately obvious which gender they are intended for.

A K-mart ad has a kids' shoe decorated with a cartoon skull bedecked with a pink bow. Based on the colors, it is marketed towards girls. Till now, I've only seen skull emblems on boys' clothing. Personally, I don't care for skulls and death symbols, but it's interesting to see this kind of gender cross-over in fashion... Ah, the pink bow skull emblem is from Monster High. I suppose it isn't really cross-over then... a marketing distinction still remains, of things for girls being made to look cute, and things for boys being made to look ominous / dangerous.

At Kohl's, I found an awesome pair of shoes with orange and turquoise highlights, non-leather and made by Asics.

Kohl's also impressed me with colorful dress socks in the men's section. There were bright red ones, pink ones, and several multi-colored patterned ones. Bright neon-colored athletic socks also caught my eye. I don't think men's socks would fit me well though. Besides the foot size being larger, they tend to go partway up the calf, and I don't really understand what keeps them from falling down, compared to knee-socks where the top elastic is above the calf.

attraction & gender

Monday, July 29th, 2013 12:13 am
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New words:

andromantic (or androromantic), gyneromantic, and ambiromantic: romantic attraction towards person(s) expressing masculinity or femininity or intersex/third gender-mixing (respectively) without implying the gender of the individual experiencing the attraction; often used by asexuals with a non-binary gender identity.

Also...

Skolioromantic: romantic attraction to gender variant individuals. (Info on the prefix "skolio"...)

Andro-Skolioromantic: romantic attraction towards male-identified people as well as gender variant individuals.

vividly pretty shoes

Saturday, March 30th, 2013 03:03 pm
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Some years back, I noted the disparity between athletic shoes marketed towards men and women. The ones for women were mainly all-white, or white + pastel colors, or sometimes all-black, whereas the ones for men more often had vivid colors.

Now, vividly colored shoes are available for both men and women. There are still color differences - the women's shoes are more likely to contain pink, purple, salmon-orange, and turquoise colors, while the men's shoes are more likely to contain primary colors. But overall, I'm impressed at how many snazzy looking shoes are on sale!
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Certain FTM and genderqueer people on YouTube seem so cute and (dare I say it?) sexy to me. There's something about their voice and the way they speak, the way they look, the way they smile, or how their eyes seem to light up sometimes, that fascinates me. I probably would be able to imagine characters based on them in some of my fantasies, though I'm not wont to do so with real people. Is that how it is for sexual people, when they are sexually attracted to someone?

Then again, for me to actually want to be in an even remotely sexual situation with someone would require specific actions on their part, rather than simply how the person looks or how they speak.

the skirted duo

Friday, August 31st, 2012 03:35 pm
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This is a sweet story about a boy who likes wearing skirts and dresses, and what his father decided to do about it.

The original German version is here.

Excerpt from the end:
When other boys (it’s nearly always boys) want to make fun of him, he smiles and says, "You just don’t dare to wear skirts and dresses, because your dads don’t dare to either."

oh she's good

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 11:44 pm
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This made me laugh a lot in several places.


Video title: Why woman are different from men and vice versa By Amanda Gore
Posted by: Amanda Gore TV
URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbF-4LOOC5c
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I used Google Translate to check what the Swedish title (Män som hatar kvinnor) of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" means. As I typed the words, I seemed to recall that kvinnor means "women". But the translation displayed as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". In fact, even "hatar kvinnor" by itself was translated as "Dragon Tattoo". Not-Very-Helpful, oh ye translating tool! I quite doubt that is how one says Dragon Tattoo in Swedish. Only by entering each word separately did it give me the presumably correct translation "Men who hate women".

The title of the 2nd book "Flickan Som Lekte Med Elden", does literally translate to "The Girl Who Played with Fire".

The title of the 3rd book "Luftslottet Som Sprängdes" (The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) seems to mean "The Air Castle that was Blown (Up?)". No weirdness with that translation.

I finished reading the first book today. I'm not planning to watch any of the movies until I finish the books.

Spoilers... )