Archive for genderqueer

Report back from visiting Family

I felt frequently frustrated visiting my family last weekend for my grandmother/popo‘s funeral. My relatives typically talk about inanely boring things and this was barely any exception. It’s strange having to put on my masculine face for hours and hours on end. I felt like snapping at my brother numerous times (and did not always restrain myself) during the viewing ceremony of popo‘s body. It disturbed me to play the role of “grandson” of a woman that i did not know very well.

Another part of what grated on my mind was the inherent sexism of the ceremony. We sometimes stood and sometimes kneeled in a particular order before the two altars in the funeral home based on gender and relationship to my popo, the mother of my mother.


D aughters-in-Law (lined up beside their respective husbands)


Grandsons (by sons)

Grandsons (by daughters)

Granddaughters (by sons)

Granddaughters (by daughters)

There was also something sexist about the bowing. All people who had come to pay their respects had to bow to the altar three times, bow once to the men, walk around to where the body is (behind the main altar) and then bow once to the women and once more to the men.

This was mostly frustrating for me because my brother was clearly lost about the order of things taking place and i felt that i had to play the role of the responsible, oldest son when in fact i was neither the oldest nor the son. I felt an obligation to family to help things move along smoothly. Which basically meant that i did what i was told. The one upshot of my brother not being mentally organized is that because he didn’t quite know where to stand, we and my cousin who is a woman and daughter of a one of my grandmother’s sons messed up the order a bit, which gave me some bit of satisfaction. Unfortunately, nobody cared enough about where the three of us were to start anything since we were all in the back anyway (my mother is the only daughter to have children).

… continue reading this entry.

Death, Elders, Karma

I’m going to visit my family for a few days. Will be off my high-speed internet fix and my blog during that time.

My grandmother died last Saturday at the hospital. She was recovering from surgery as well as pneumonia. In her 80s. I was a little surprised to hear it, and my mother never even told me that my grandmother had gotten sick until my brother mentioned it. I thought that was weird. But my mother doesn’t tell me much of anything unless it directly concerns me. Her calls are usually to ask whether i’m sleeping enough, whether i’m wearing the clothing she bought me, whether i am making enough money at my job.

This reminds me of some thoughts i had last weekend at the end of the digital storytelling training program. I had just spend all day at the office building in downtown San Francisco, mostly helping people with a digital film editing program, stressed, tired. Though it didn’t surprise me, i realized that even though i was, in theory, similar to these women in that i had a male body and was transitioning to a gender of “woman,” i felt very different. Not only because of my age (i was definitely younger than any of them) and educational attainment, but also because i got the impression that i was the only one who passed as a straight guy during my teens.

It got me thinking about something i was troubled by during my initial coming out period in Santa Barbara. And which still bothers me somewhat today. Where are the elders?? Where are the people i’m supposed to be able to look up to for wisdom, for guidance? Not my biological mother or Her mother. Nor did i really even know my grandparents from my father’s side.

A generation or two ago, people with my gender inclination and attraction to women living in a society as homophobic and transphobic as the United States probably would not have come out until they were in their 40s or 50s, married to a cisgender (XX chromosome) woman, had 2.5 kids and a house.

… continue reading this entry.

Hafiz i am not (re-rendering of How does It Feel to be a Heart?)

The Hafiz poem, as translated by Daniel Ladinsky, is at

Once a young woman asked me,

“How does it feel to be a man?”

And i replied,

“I am not sure what you mean.”

Then she said,

“Well, aren’t you a man?”

And this time i replied,

“Am i a man if i wait in line to use the women’s restroom when there is no line to the men’s?

when, on the telephone, people assume that i am a woman?

when, in person, people are often uncertain of what my gender is?”

And the woman responded, “But you are a man.”

At this i replied,

“Is there a contest that one wins

for corralling somebody into a pen?

If you are seeking to know yourself

Do not look to me.

If you are seeking to know me

You do not know how to see.”

TransForming Communities

I am reminded that one of the reasons i don’t go to many transgender events because i often wind up feeling more lonely when i leave than when i arrive.

“TransForming Communities” at the LGBT Center in San Francisco


TransForming Community explores the friction at the intersection of contemporary trans and queer communities. With a burgeoning transsexual community growing in tandem with a genderqueer movement, what are the issues that arise when non-trans queers share cultural space with transpeople and genderqueers? With distinctly different needs and identities, what needs to be worked out between the transsexual and genderqueer and queer communities?

Of this year’s performers, the one whose speech/poem that got me thinking most was that of Buck Angel, a female-to-male transexual person (transman) who is proudly “a man with a pussy.” A man who states that he doesn’t like being called a “trans-advocate” because he transitioned to become “a man, not a transman” and because he gets more support for who he is and the work he does from gay men than from transgender people or any other queer people.

… continue reading this entry.