Borderline Personality Disorder and My Experiences

Trigger Warning: Trans*phobia, cissexism, assault, self-harm, suicide

Queer and trans* issues are the forefront of what I write about. These are huge factors in my life and my life goals, so it makes sense I spend a great deal of time talking about them and their impact on me and others. While I do not try to hide the fact I am mentally ill, I do not generally write or openly talk about it. I feel like I need to change this. Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Some of you may have heard it from the news or TV shows, often in an extremely negative light. Those with my mental illness are portrayed as serial killers, mass murderers, criminals, and sociopaths. People with Borderline are almost never displayed in a good light. That is why I was through the roof when I found out that one of my trans* role models, Kate Bornstein, also had Borderline.

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Problematic Allies

No one is perfect. In fact, it seems that to be imperfect is part of what makes us human. Despite what mainstream media likes to tell us, our favorite celebrities aren’t perfect either. Many of them are actually extremely problematic, to the point of harm. Intent doesn’t solve everything, nor does them being a celebrity. It does not shield them from criticism of their actions or cultural critique either. With the recent awarding of Macklemore’s Same Love and his subsequent speech, there needs to be a discussion about problematic celebrities, their place in the queer rights movement, and people’s ability to enjoy them as they are.

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Why Allowing Chelsea Manning to Transition is Vital

Everywhere you look today, there are articles about Chelsea Manning. Even I jumped on that train, and I’m going to jump on it again. However, I am going to talk about her transition this time, and the problems behind not supporting her medical transition. Every news site, even the queer friendly ones, has discussions over how the government should not pay for the coverage of her hormones. Some places are even dragging surgeries into this, surgeries she has not even mentioned, she has only mentioned HRT. Many trans* and cis people have voiced several of their concerns with her transition. While understandable, they are all problematic. Chelsea should have the basic health coverage everyone should have.  Whether or not you condone her as a hero or a criminal should have no affect on the way she is treated. However, for most, it sadly has everything to do with it.

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Chelsea Manning and the Media

With the recent prosecution of Manning, there is a very major detail that is being swept under the rug (in regards to respecting her). She is not Bradley Manning, or even B.Manning. She is Chelsea Manning, and she is a woman. She made this announcement years before, even stating that her biggest fear was seeing her name and face in papers, seeing herself living as the man she was not. On August 22, she made this announcement once again, with her plans to transition. However, news media is lagging behind.

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Words Matter: The Effects of Bullying on Queer Youth

There are very few people who have not heard the age old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. However, as the problem of bullying comes into the mainstream a very different picture is being painted. Words do hurt, in fact, they can cause severe harm to people. Words are some of our most important weapons against others. Bullying is a severe problem in today’s society, especially against queer youth. Queer in this paper is used as an umbrella term to mean non-heterosexual and non-cisgender youth (Mogul, Ritchie & Whitlock, 2011). Cisgender is used to define people whose gender and assigned at birth sex/gender match. This is the opposite of transgender which means that one’s gender identity and assigned gender/sex do not match. They is also used as a gender-neutral pronoun due to transgender identities that exist outside of the male/female binary (Stevenson, n.d.).

Projects such as the It Gets Better Campaign by Dan Savage attempt to address these issues and give hope, yet ignore addressing the problem at its core. Projects like the It Gets Better campaign focus on telling youth to hold on instead of trying to eliminate a climate of intolerance and hate that many youth face in their lives. For queer youth to feel accepted, we need to work on the root of the problem instead of just focusing on getting them through the more traumatic experiences of grade school. This includes getting parents, teachers, and other school staff involved and educated on the adversity their students face for being queer or being perceived as queer. For many, the bullying starts in elementary school and continues all throughout their lives (Cahill & Cianciotto, 2012). This means that programs that focus on education and prevention need to be started at younger ages and needs to be continued throughout the educational career, for both students and staff.

While queer youth experience more than just verbal harassment in numbers much higher than their non-queer peers, this paper will focus on verbal harassment and the lasting effects it has (Cahill & Cianciotto, 2012). Verbal harassment is much more frequent than any other form of harassment since words are much easier to use and have fewer repercussions than the use of physical or sexual assault. Words are not harmless and can leave lasting problems when continually used as weapons against queer youth. Bullying, especially verbal harassment, is a serious issue inside of schools for queer youth that can leave lasting negative impressions and is a problem that needs to be addressed at the core and actively worked against and prevented.

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Gender: Peacock

I’m a guy (mostly). A trans guy, but I am still a guy. However, I am far from your typical guy (both trans* and cis). I have more high heels than most of my female friends. I still shop in the women’s clothing section, including underwear. My arms are covered in a plethora of bracelets of all colors, shapes, and sizes. At this current moment, my toenails are painted sparkly purple (something I did with my girlfriend).  I love rainbows, unicorns, glitter, bright colors, flashy clothes, etc. I often joke that my gender is peacock, because that is how I feel most of the time. A male peacock is the perfect descriptor for me. I’m flashy, loud, outspoken, opinionated, brightly colored, and love being the center of attention. While my gender occasionally does fluctuate, it always has the basis of male. I’ve always seen my body and  identity as having a male base to build off of, despite being Female Assigned At Birth – or FAAB, which is a perfect acronym for me.

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Why Tolerance Isn’t Acceptable

I see so many people lobby for tolerance when we should be lobbying for acceptance. I do not see tolerance as an acceptable goal. Tolerance allows people to still hold bigoted beliefs and opinions, tolerance allows people to still pass laws against queer people and their rights, tolerance still allows hate. Tolerance is a null point to me. Tolerance is a way of accepting defeat in my eyes. Tolerance should be considered a goal marker and a stepping stone when it comes to the lives of queer people. I do not want people to merely tolerate my existence; I want them to accept there is nothing wrong with me.

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Why Places Like Autostraddle Are Awesome (and Needed)

Autostraddle has to be one of my favorite places on the internet. While I am not their main demographic (since it is a queer women’s site aimed at, you guessed it, queer women), there are articles that pertain to my interests as well as my life. Articles like I’m A Trans Woman And I’m Not Interested In Being One of the “Good Ones” and Panic! in the Locker Room: On Fighting for Trans* Youth with Words as Weapons are two of the reasons I started writing again. However, places like Autostraddle fulfill an important place in the queer world.

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LGB……t Pride: The Non-Existence of Trans* People At Pride Events

This year I went to my first two Pride parades in the month of June. This story is about my experience at NYC Pride on June 30th. A week before the event, me and my trans woman friend Alice decided to do a rather radical way of bringing trans* awareness to the Pride parade. In NYC, it is legal for people of all genders to be topless. I have not had any surgeries, yet I am on hormones. This means I still have rather prominent moobs, but I am also a rather hairy guy. I also painted a male symbol on my stomach and had a two-sided sign; one side said My Body Does Not Define Me and the other side said Trans* Rights are Human Rights. I also wore my hoodie and my trans* symbol necklace. I made it as apparent as possible that I was trans* and male (which is something I do on a daily basis).

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The Homeless Epidemic Among Queer Youth

In the beginning of June, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomburg, announced budget cuts that would remove 60 percent of funding towards homeless youth. As a result, 160 of the 259 shelter beds would be removed. Those hardest hit by this proposed tax cut would be New York City’s queer youth, which compromises 40 percent of the city’s homeless youth (Shapiro, 2012). Shelters and services tolerant and educated on queer youth, their problems, and their needs are already few and far between. These tax cuts would not only hurt the homeless youth population as a whole, but farther alienate these minority youth.

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