What is the other thing that others don't know about me? Other than being transgender right?
Well, it's that I can read, write, understand, and speak French! I'm currently learning Swedish and Italian from my boyfriend who is ethnically Swedish but was raised in London.
I used to teach Khmer-French to people who were interested in learning but the only thing is that my accents are multiple due to the ability to speak multiple languages like Cambodian, Japanese, French, and English so there is a Khmer-French accent which is typically not the standard for French in France. It can be said the same for those who are Canadian-French, Indian-French, etc. or for those who are from French-speaking countries. Cambodia, my father's homeland, being one of them.
The following are uploaded to my Youtube but they are from older recordings from when I had taught Khmer-French to others. The lessons were generated for basic beginners. Naturally, I am very shy when I speak French because I don't often openly speak French publicly and only speak French among close family and friends who speak it fluently.
Here are the videos and hope I can teach some basic French:
Please note, this introduction in regards to what company I work for is old as I no longer work there but the sentence structure can be used as an example for carrying intermediate conversations.
There were a few moments in the annotation videos below, parts 1-3, when I was really nervous and spoke too fast and even messed up a few times which is a non-occurrence in person. It was because I was really shy doing those recordings like having stage fright. I've revisited some older videos of my short French language lessons and currently working on updating to replace these old ones for new ones that are more coherent were I am less shy or nervous.
Growing up, the first language I spoke was in fact Khmer (not English), followed by French which was mixed with Khmer so my father spoke Khmer-French, although, none of us realized it back then. Technically, Khmer-French was my first spoken language with Japanese being my second and eventually when I hit grade school, I was placed in an ESL class, and English became my third.
I don't always speak English, it is not my dominant language, although I am fluent and may speak English very well. At home, I speak French to my partner, Khmer to my parents, and Japanese to my friends or relatives that I still keep in touch with. My circle of friends range from local to long distance and most are international. Most of my friends are from all over the world, I speak my native languages to friends and family according to the languages they do speak.
I am fluent in all my native languages but I fear that I may be loosing them as speaking Japanese or Khmer is not an everyday occurrence whereas French and English has been for most parts of my life. In one of these annotation videos, I mentioned that I learned French when I was 21, this is somewhat true. I didn't begin to speak French more until I turned 21 and started working for French-based companies where I was able to put my French to everyday use.
What I do speak at times is French slang, otherwise known as l'argot de rues (street slang), mostly informal, and sometimes politer forms (formal) when I do meet new people or people that I don't know personally that are from French-speaking countries or are a native of France, it's out of respect, and I don't always speak to them in French just because I can speak French.
The French language is an SVO typology like English and Khmer. However, Japanese is an SOV language. All three languages are somewhat difficult to master especially all at once but Khmer and French is the more difficult to learn due to the heavier accents. I find that the Khmer pronunciation is somewhat similar to French pronunciation so it's an easy transition when switching from speaking Khmer to French. Being mixed, I sort of created my own cross language and it just became Khmer-French among my family.
Merriam-Websters Pocket French-English Dictionary (2004)
The importance of speaking French is mastering the French alphabets, accents, consonants, and vowels, like à, ç, é, ê, è, œ, etc.
Khmers from the capital of Cambodia also learn and utilize the French alphabets when speaking foreign words, most foreign Khmer words are actually French borrowed or adapted into the Khmer language.
apple = baom (in Khmer) from French word 'pom' for apple
sandwich = sang vich (in Khmer) from French word 'sandwich' for sandwich
doctor = docteur (in Khmer) from French word 'docteur' for doctor
helicopter = helicopteur (in Khmer) from French word 'helicopteur' for helicopter
butter = bu (in Khmer) from French word 'beure' for butter
calendar = calong-yeh (in Khmer) from French word 'calendrier' for calendar
My father has a Khmer dictionary and there are French words in the Khmer dictionary just as there are Canadian words in the French dictionary. Interesting huh?
French alphabets are pronounced as follows:
a = ah
b = beh/bé
c = seh/cé
d = deh/dé
e = uh
f = eff/effe
g = zheh/gé
h = ahsh/ache
i = ee
j = zhee/ji
k = kah/ka
l = ell/elle
m = em/emme
n = en/enne
o = oh/o
p = peh/pé
q = koo/qu
r = air/erre
s = ess/esse
t = teh/té
u = ooh/u
v = veh/vé
w = doo-blah-veh/double vé
x = eeks/icse
y = ee-grek/i-grec
z = zed/zede
French accents are pronounced as follows using these few as an example:
é as in été
ê as in bête
è as in père
It's an easy mistake when speaking French and not taking alphabets, accents, and proper pronunciation of vowels into account because you can say a phrase which can mean something entirely different in French for example, you can mean to say, "Un vin blanc." (A white wine.) but end up sounding like, 'Le vent blond." (The blond wind.) because you mumbled-jumbled the accents at the tounge more than putting the proper emphasis on the pronunciations of the accents and vowels.
Speaking Khmer and French requires use of the tounge, mouth, and lips. Stretch it! My tip is start with citing the French alphabets, consonants, vowels, and accents like the 'ç' (you know, the crlkkk sound) like in 'français' and 'france' and don't forget the soft silent ones like in, "Dormez-vous?" The 'z' is silent.
Here are some French memes that will give you ideas on the language. The parts were they Googled words that sound alike with different meanings when put together in a sentence just cracks me up, but in all due respect, it is otherwise, a beautiful language.
Another thing to point out is that when it comes to speaking French and the translation, keep it mind that whatever you say or how you form your grammar really matters. To my French ears, I would watch a French movie and the English subtitles are completely different than what was actually said? There is a reason for that. If the English translates exactly to that of a native French ear, the translation would be altogether foreign.
For example, in French, to ask about a person's age is, "Tu as quel âge?", and to tell others your age doesn't translate to, "I am 38 years old." Instead, to the native French ears, like mine, it actually translates in my head to, "I have 38 years." If you break down the French phrase for age, in French, I would say, "J'ai trente-huit ans." 'J'ai' is I have (root verb is 'avoir' which means to have). 'Trente-huit' is the number of my age, that's 38. 'Ans' is years (masculine).
Someone replied back to me one day when I had asked about their age, they had used this phrase, "Je suis trente-deux âge." Although this phrase may be seen in English to be formulated as, "I am 32 years old." For example, 'Je suis' is I am. 'Trente-deux' is 32. 'Âge' is age. This is actually incorrect!
Je suis is a context used for "I am...", I'll use the irregular verb 'avoir' as an example to help you understand the meaning.
Example subject/pronoun for (I have) form:
Avoir = to have
J'ai = I have
These are the subject/pronouns for I, myself, etc.
J/Je = I
Je suis = I am
Je me = Myself
The number is correct but âge can't be used because it also has multiple meanings which can also mean ancient, time, or period.
Another thing, do not use Google translator as a reliable source to formulate your grammar or phrases. It can be outdated or incorrect entirely. My tip to you is to learn it by getting a pocket dictionary, enhancing your vocabulary, verbs, learn the root, present, past tense, future tense, etc. Most of all, learn the mind of a French native and how they hear or form their phrases and practice through having a verbal conversation versus learning with silent textbooks where you never really speak French or put it to use. You would only be able to write and read it but would never really truly learn how to speak it.
However, if you do speak or practice speaking French, please just keep it as simple as you can and don't speak textbook French aka the old school teachings or phrases that were spoken from the 90's. It doesn't sound authentic. For example, present day, the French no longer use phrases like, "comme-ci comme-ça", as this is outdated, nor do they say, "ooh-la-la", it's "aah-la-la". I noticed that when I meet predominantly English speakers (non-native French speakers) who try to speak French, they tend to formulate a phrase way longer than it should so they go on and on and on as a way to show off their skills that they can speak French but in truth, a real French person would just keep it simple and say, "Je compris."
For example, I was in Paris on my London trip back in 2019 and was next to an American tourist who was making an order at a pastry shop and he said something elaborately long as, "J'aimerais avoir une baguette." It translates to the, "I would like to have a baguette." Then when it was my turn to place my order, all I ever need to say was, "Un croissant š'il vous plaît." (A croissant please.) I've seen a waitress get so confused when American tourist order in French and not speak clearly or pronounce the accents correctly and completely butcher the language because they felt entitled but then get politically correct by a fellow Frenchman.
When others introduce themselves in French to me and tell me a full story in French, for a lack of social etiquette, normally when it's my turn to speak after listening to them go on for 5-15 minutes about their story, all I ever say about me in short is, "Mon père est français et cambodgien. Mon mère est japonais." That's it. I'm mixed with French which is why I can speak and understand it, and that's all you need to know from that point. Anyone that speaks in French in very long winded way is just impertinent and simply showing off their skills as there weren't any room for a proper back and forth conversation that was deemed to be polite when it comes to French etiquette or manner.
Another thing to point out, I speak in masculine forms. It annoys me when other non-native French speakers attempt to correct me and say things like 'françois' instead of the proper 'français' (masculine) and 'française' (feminine) for the word French. Please stop saying 'françois', it doesn't mean French, it means Francis which is a name like Chef François Payard. Also, not every French word ends in ~çois (swah or ~waahs) because at that point, they're just trying to sound savvy which can be taken as a mockery to the French language and culture.
Lastly, respect it. Learn about the history and the culture. At my father's French villa in the capital of 'Cambodge', his homeland, our family carry some semblance of the French traditions as French is rooted in his blood before the days of the 'Khmer Rouge', like having a proper dinner.
We get dressed up and socially gather In the living room, there we have l'apertifs, (non-alcoholic drinks), then we get seated in the dining hall and have l'entrée (starters), followed by l'plaît principal (main course), then le fromage (cheese), and finally le dessert (dessert). Then after we eat dinner in the dining hall, we go back to the salon (living room) and have le digestif (an after dinner treat) which is basically some tums for heart burn and indigestion. Or for the men, it's bourbon whiskey and tobacco.
When we dine at the table, we follow the continental dining etiquette and the silverwares are always set in the B-M-W (bread-meal-water) pattern by the butler. If you're wondering, am I rich? No, but my father's side of the family are and my two surviving older step-brothers, who are both more French than Khmer and are fully French native speakers, oversees his French villa on his behalf while my father resides in America.
Tell Me Why DontNod Entertainment
First of all, I just want to say how proud I am of this game and the representation of transmen. I can widely relate to the backstory and storyline of this game. It may have some triggers but those triggers can be overcome with the fact that you finally get to see a portrayal of transgender people in the gaming industry, specifically transgender men. My partner was telling me about this game and we watched the gameplay walkthrough with no commentary on Youtube before I actually played it after the full release.
Here is the full gameplay walkthrough no commentary Chapter 1, 2, and 3:
Being Transgender In Japan
On this blog segment of my trans life, I want to get into transgender spectrums. There is a vast groups and sub-groups under the widely used umbrella term "transgender" so in order for me to move forward with sharing some of the variants of transgender people and how each one identifies, let me break it down to these terms so that there is clear context and understanding of the spectrums.
Think of gender spectrums like a category under race, religion, or creed that is classified under the main umbrella term. For example, in China, they are what we know as Chinese people, then there are the groups of Chinese that they fall under. For example, there are the Chinese from the north which is different from the Chinese from the south, in the other Northern provinces they may speak a different sub-group dialect, express a different cultural appearance or tradition of their region, and so forth, nevertheless, they are still Chinese people. This can be viewed in the same way a transgender person is identified and classified.
I will utilize myself as an example of one of these sex and gender diverse spectrums. As shown in the image above to compare my two gender fluid gender expressions, it reads:
"Transgender is an umbrella term to categorize all gender spectrums:
My gender identity are one of the many gender spectrums that exist among a sex and gender diverse community. I will utilize Japan as one of the countries with a very open expression of groups and sub-groups especially among the J-anime and J-pop scenes. Japan has one of the most genderfluid, gender non-binary, and genderless individuals that exist and co-exist among Japan's past, present to modern day, and futuristic society. No one is judged, shamed, or condemned from any form of expression. Japan is such a carefree and fun country. While the gender spectrum is an open and accepting topic for the Japanese, the sexual identities for Japan is still somewhat considered taboo. This is quite an opposite perspective for Japan compared to the United States.
In the United States, the gay and lesbian communities are somewhat widely more accepted and normalized and not really seen as taboo. However, anyone being transgender is still shamed, stigmatized, and dehumanized in the United States, hence transgender people are treated or seen as a taboo in America. Japan is quite the opposite of this, transgender people are widely accepted, honored, and even revered whereas if one is openly lesbian or gay, that can be frowned upon but Japan is otherwise a very safe place to be if one identifies as lesbian, gay, or transgender. You don't ever hear about any type of LGBTQIA+ violence in Japan. Japan is a country that allows and encourages expressions of the humanity in all forms rather than oppression. However, transgender rights are still somewhat of a challenge in Japan when it comes to Japan's sterilization laws and documentations to reflect their current identities.
The other thing about Japan is that the Japanese reflects their diversity in J-anime and J-pop culture. It isn't the other way around where an androgynous character in J-anime comes to life in human form, rather it's the existence of the Japanese human expression and gender representation that is drawn into life into J-anime to reflect it's societies diversity. This has been a long reflection in Japanese culture. In the days of the shogun to the days of the bushido, the paintings in scrolls has reflected the sex and gender diversity, forms, and practices for ages and ages. It is even common for a shogun or samurai men to be sexually attracted to the same sex and engage in MSM.
It also common for Japanese men to practice being an onnagata in kabuki theatre while also being androgynous. Transgender was not a term used in the ancient times but the expression has always existed. In Japan, there were noblemen and monks that were considered genderless and genderfluid, as genderfluidity was seen as godly. I believe ancient Egypt also revered genderfluid beings also as the belief of angelic beings were genderless in Agnostism.
Focusing back onto present day, I have known my friends from Japan to be genderless where they are seen as neither a boy or a girl. Some of my friends are born intersex, meaning they both have a male and female reproductive parts. My genderfluid friends who are androgynous were just born with neither masculine or feminine traits but they had both of those traits and their gender expression are in between. They were often called gender benders in Japan, because of the spike in genderfluid youths in Japan, Japan has created genderless fashion to accommodate the gender expression of genderfluid individuals.
Here is the documentary of what it is like to be transmen in Japan (first top video) and what genderless means in Japan's genderfluid society (second bottom video):
In 1682, in the Palace of Versailles of France, King Louis XIV and his royal court wore a specific fashion consisting of the men wearing high heel shoes, frill laces, tights, corsets, skirts, sporting long hair, and makeup. The men were still men, the women were still women, and the children were just called children instead of being called boys and girls, regardless of the court's fashion or the fashion expressed in both genders during that time period as there were no sex and gender-bias belief systems being strictly practiced. No men of France in the Palace of Versailles were ever shamed for sporting such trends and some of the men of France who practiced homosexuality were not shamed for bedding with the same sex. Anti-sex and anti-gender identity rhetoric were neither learned or taught in those time periods. Proving that the idea of a binary system where in today's society that there are only two gender is a structurally fabricated and taught since the early 1900's but times before that, the notions and laws of a binary system was not known or practiced. Not to mention, during those time periods predating back to the early 1600's, transmen and transwomen still existed nevertheless but was kept under the radar because they were stealth.
Not to mention, in Scottish culture, the men wore skirts. So why are skirts just defined to the categories of fashion as one belonging to just for women? Who came up with this gender role theory?
Anyway, here is a video of Addison advocating for genderfluid and gender non-binary individuals on the Dr. Phil show to educate others on it. The reality of why this is happening today in our society is because cisgender straight people who are anti-LGBTQIA+ has spent years oppressing, denying, erasing, and eradicating the existence of transgender and intersex people since the early 1900's by imposing their bias-beliefs. Since the existence and now the visibility of transgender and intersex people are now being shed to light, transgender and intersex people constantly have to defend themselves, so these terms by giving each spectrum a definition gives context to identify each individual and to show how various gender identities do exist. In this video, Matt Welsh, completely denies, stigmatizes, and erases the existence of intersex people which is such a huge disrespect out of sheer ignorance based on a gender bias-belief system. I can guarantee you that none of the people who are anti-LGBTQIA+ have ever met an intersex person.
I can answer why Matt Welsh cares so much and why he, like Ben Shapiro, Dinesh D'Souza, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, etc. and many other non-LGBTQIA+ politicians and commentators, share the same bias-beliefs against transgender and intersex people. They are scared of us. They don't like that a binary society get challenged or that the existence of a transgender or intersex person can change its views or beliefs or that there are those like us who live, breathe, and walk on this earth alongside them. They don't want us to share or co-exist in that same space. So the segregation, shaming, erasure, oppression, and censorship continues to bang on. They view our existence as such a threat because they spent all their lives being taught, told, and programmed to live in a binary gender role world, that if this piece of existence in fact exists on earth or in the face of humanity, then everything they were taught flies out the window. Most of these people have are what I call the, "addicted to the need to know", which is a concept that defines those who think they know it all and when they don't know something that is new to them, they will debate away it's existence, as they spend most of their lifetime controlling what they can't control by labeling and you know what I say, "labels are limitations" because labels keep the human expression defined into one thing but does not give room for the expression of others outside of itself. The fact that transgender and intersex beings scares them, they create exaggerated fictional scenarios or statistics against transgender people, and contribute 100% to the fear mongering in society against transgender people. In the end, the choice to oppress another human being from having their own human experience to be able to express that doesn't bear weight to the purpose of those who wishes to shame and censor out those who do take a different and unique walk in life.
Being transgender in Japan is a lot easier than being transgender in America. The Japanese people understand that it is very important for a human being to express themselves, that oppression is hardly the focus of the modern day society of Japan.
Glares. Whispers. Double-takes. Negative and discriminating remarks such as, "Gender neutral restrooms are so stupid." "Oh, that person is a tranny over there...?" Are all tell-tale signs of an anti-transgender, transphobic, transmisia, and a makeup of a hostile environment.
For me, society and the perception of transgender people is a constant challenge. You don't realize how privilege cisgender people are or how ignorant they can be towards a transgender person. There is a vast world of so many different people from all walks of life, culture, background, religion, class, sex, gender, color, cast, creed, etc. and they may not realize that when it comes to including others, that it's not just always going to be about them and their comfortability. Cisgender people have it so easy. They really don't have to worry about anything, period! Most of their fears about a transgender person are also fictional which feeds to the stigmas of transgender people being a threat. It's never going to be easy for a transgender person who has a body that doesn't match their assigned sex at birth and a biologically anatomy that doesn't match with their current gender identity. This brings on more of a challenge for transgender people who have not undergone gender-reaffirming surgery (otherwise known as bottom surgery) who struggle to access and utilize binary toilets in public restroom spaces because it public restroom simply "outs" them.
So what is a transgender person, like myself, to do? Is it right to be denied to use a restroom, any restroom? I have people tell me that I should conform to society as a way to fit in the gender norms. I tell those people they need to change their perception and educate themselves on diversity of sex and gender in this world. Why do I have to oppress or censor myself to comfort someone elses' ignorance? You simply don't tell a male lady bug to stop being a lady bug, besides male lady bugs get misgendered all the time but guess who made them? God, and yes, they do exist! Same with male sea horses, they get pregnant my female sea horses and give birth. I can't imagine anyone trying to argue against that one but guess who made them? God, and yes, they do exist! Get my point?
My dilemma was like this: I identify as a transgender man. I have transitioned from female-to-male. My gender pronouns are he/him/his. I have had my top surgery but I have not had my bottom surgery, therefore, my biological anatomy is still intact. I can still bleed when I'm off my hormone replacement therapy and I can still get pregnant without using condoms or birth control contraceptive if I have sex with a cisgender man (like any other woman). However, with that being said, it doesn't make me less of a man to still have my biological genitalia at birth after I have hormonally transitioned. When it comes to public binary restrooms, I can't use the mens urinals because my biological anatomy has not changed. I also can't access the men's stalls if fully occuppied to pee. I can't use the women's restroom because my gender identity as a transman no longer matches my gender identity to that of a women. So where do I go to utilize a restroom?
Another thing to point out, it's a transgender persons choice if they choose to under-go bottom surgery or not. I have had many binary-minded socially conformist people who suggests that I get my bottom surgery in order to be literally acknowledged as a man or in other terms be considered a man but for some transmen, like myself, are perfectly fine with having a vagina because the options for transmen when it comes to bottom surgery is for one, permanent, and that there aren't guaranteed options that will:
Allow a transman to have feelings of pleasure when it comes to enjoying sex.
Allow transmen to get pregnant, carry, and birth their own biological offspring as an option to adoption whether through IVF or with a male cisgender partner.
Transmen are aware that there are risks of other complications after having bottom surgery and for me, I feel that there aren't better operating procedures for me to under-go a full bottom surgery but say, if I want to avoid monthly bleedings or pregnancy, I can always under-go a hysterectomy but still keep my vagina intact for penetrative vaginal sex. It's also a very personal, private, sensitive, and emotional decision for a transman to decide whether they wish to undergo bottom surgery or not. The choice should be up to transgender men without shame for choosing to keep their biological anatomy at birth intact, having their monthly bleedings, getting pregnant, etc.
In regards to public restrooms, literally, all I need is to use the restroom, that's all I want! I don't care about anyone or anything else. I'm not interested in looking at or interacting with anyone in the same restroom space. Ironically, other cisgender people worry that I will harass them when I'm also worried about being harassed and discriminated by cisgender people just for being transgender. I already have bladder problems from holding my pee for too long in public spaces and my doctors have already warned me against holding my pee because public restroom spaces are sometimes either inaccessible or I get denied from using them because people make complaints or call security or the cops on me to get me arrested because they think I'm a sex-offender, a pervert, or some freak of nature. Not to mention, holding your pee for long periods of time, overtime, causes health issues which has been the main reason for all my abdominal pains.
Instead of having a binary restroom, most public spaces need to create a safer space for transgender (transmasculine non-conforming), like myself, by making both restrooms an all-gender one where I wouldn't have to worry about which restroom to use if either stall is occupied and so that I don't get attacked by a cisgender female or a cisgender male staff member or customer making complaints about me using either restrooms due to max occupancy in the men's stall while the women's stall are clearly vacant and accessible. To me, a restroom is just a restroom so just let me go pee or poop in peace!
As of December of 2003, the State of California issued this ordinance for restrooms in most public facilities and workplaces. It was an option for most institutions but when you have a transgender employee in your work force or even potential transgender customers, the company that claims to be true to its work culture when it comes to advocating for diversity and inclusion must follow this ordinance to accommodate their transgender employee and/or potential customers. This is more of a health and safety matter than anything else for both transgender employees and transgender customers alike. Imagine having to hold your pee for hours. Now, imagine transgender children or transgender students in those 8 "Unacceptable States" being denied rights to use the public restrooms and having to hold their pee for hours. That's not okay! You may not die holding your pee for too long but being forced to hold your pee because you were denied access to a restroom regardless of it being a men's or women's restroom is just inhumane. Nevertheless, if a cisgender senior with health disabilities who really needed to go pee, urgently, and let's say, the assigned restroom that they needed to utilize is fully occupied, one would not object or discriminate against this senior citizen for having to utilize the opposite binary assigned restroom because this senior may have health related issues with their kidney or bladder so you wouldn't deny this senior access or discriminate against this senior so then why would you discriminate against a transgender one? By this, I mean a senior who could also be transgender.
Reasonable access to a restroom is a workplace safety and health concern. Transgender employees must have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity, in compliance with OSHA guidelines.
It's crazy how we're still dealing with civil rights in 2023 huh? Regardless of what form the fight for civil rights may be. At my previous job, they didn't just preach about equality, diversity, and inclusion, they took action and made sure that they were the most accommodating to the needs of their transgender employee(s). When I was employed there, the store manager immediately followed the State of California San Francisco's city ordinance in regards to Transgender Rights In The Workplace to create both restrooms an all-gender neutral restroom so that their transgender employees(s) are not discriminated against and to keep them protected from being shamed, outed, or targeted for who they are.
I know there are people who celebrate transgender people and acknowledge that in this day and age, what we go through on a day to day is a "civil rights" issue. Then there are people who spend all their energy on dehumanizing transgender people, mocking, and challenging the rights that transgender people are entitled to, these rights are much the same as a cisgender person and yes, transgender people are a bit more complex but so is all of life's secrets and wonders. Then there are those people who do both, they would praise a transgender person then suddenly turn their backs and dehumanize them while claiming to support them all at the same time.
In Arizona, one of the schooling systems enforced security on the restrooms inquiring for all students, specifically targeting transgender students, by asking for some form of documentation proving their assigned gender at birth before utilizing the binary restrooms. In Arizona, if a transgender person uses the binary restroom that does match with their current gender identity, they would get slapped with a $2500 dollar fine, because they would be considered using the "wrong" restroom because of their biological genitalia at birth. How ridiculous is that?
What are my transgender rights in the workplace? And is the right to utilize public restroom facilities regardless of which public toilet one of those rights? The answer is YES! There is a term that I want to share, it's called, "Binarism". This is the breakdown of it. Binarism is the belief that there are only two genders. Binarist attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and policies exclude or harm nonbinary and gender non-conforming people.
Binarism often overlaps with transmisia, but it's also harmful on its own. For example, trans people may be protected by law to use the restroom they're most comfortable using. But it's binarist to force everyone to choose between either men's room or a women's room and not have a gender inclusive restroom.
Because of binarism in society, non-binary people may have to make hard, unfair choices around restrooms, which sports team to play on, what kinds of gender-affirming care they need, where to get their haircut, and much more. Binarism in the community can make coming out more challenging.
To end it on this note, I am proud of addressing my concerns in regards to binary restrooms in any institution or facility, despite witnessing some negative remarks made against transgender people by making accommodations to create a gender-neutral restroom. My perspective on the needs of making public restrooms all-gender or all-inclusive benefits those who identify as transgender, gender-fluid, gender non-conforming, genderless, or gender non-binary, for family for those with disabilities that require assistance, mothers and fathers with infants, women and children especially regardless of how their children identifies, and it just makes it inclusive for both staff members and customers to utilize the restroom without having to choose and therefore ends any form of discrimination or discomfort that revolves around it.
One of the worse cases that I have considered in binary restrooms spaces is a transgender woman using the women's restroom and being outed, harassed, violated, and banned for using the restroom that she identifies because as a trans brother, I am also very protective and vocal for my trans sisters. Even though I have been transitioning hormonally for 8 years, I know I've come to the point of passing and therefore have been stealth in most public spaces, but I am also very well aware that there are transwomen and some transmen who identify as genderless, gender non-binary, gender fluid, gender non-conforming (like myself) or agender, that struggle with utilizing binary restrooms and face the adversity that follows as well as the dysphoria, anxiety, triggers, and fears around it.
I always say this to people, "If you are not part of the solution to better humanity, then YOU are part of the huge problem in society." If you are not on the side of today's human rights movement in supporting transgenders on the fights for their civil rights, then believe me when I say that the side you choose to oppose and oppress, that part in history will bite you back! You will become that person who tried to stop and shame transgender people from peeing in a toilet or simply being human!
Yeah, you don't want to be that person! People will remember you for it.
The Unacceptable States
It has been quite a long while since I have blogged about my trans life. I want to change the topic just a bit instead of putting full focus on my personal life, I want to bring up some ongoing and yet never ending issues that transgender people, like myself, still face today in 2023 among our society. Consider this my way of educating and raising awareness on a personal perspective.
First off, I want to say that I am very fortunate to be living in the State of California. The main reason being is that California is the number one state that widely supports transgender individuals and made sure that the transgender community stay as a protected class against discrimination, harassment, violence, unfair treatment, and inequality among today's current society. The State of California ensures that transgender citizens are receiving proper transgender-related healthcare, medical care, employment opportunities, and that they have their basic human rights, otherwise known as transgender rights, to be honored, preserved, supported, and protected equally as any other non-transgender law-abiding human being and citizen. It is a huge win through the results of the collective act of human kindness and effort to make sure that transgender people have a chance in life to live their authentic lives as themselves and thrive since the statistics for transgender people committing suicide here is the highest than any other country in the nation and worldwide.
The United States of America in general is one of the most diverse country worldwide yet we don't acknowledge the diversity in each other which is very ironic and quite an oxy-moron in my book. In my perspective, debates against diversity occurs due to the desire to control, invoke a sense of insecurity or fear among the masses, by enforcing a socially structured system to maintain the level of classes between each category that labels its society. Those who looses control and knows that if they allow the abolition of a socially structured society knows that they can no longer hold power over those who can be truly free from a bias-system and therefore the United States of America is born on a democracy. In other words, politicians spend most of their time debating about, excuse my language, the same dumb shit over and over again, to create the class of who is superior and who is inferior which contributes to the inequality and injustices in our system.
I have been discretely in tuned with the world news and what goes on around the world, specifically what goes on across the 50 states, what anti-transgender legislative bills (laws) are coming up and being heavily involved in the petition and campaign efforts to fight against or push back and even encourage senators and assembly officials to fight for transgender rights by requesting an enactment to propose a counter legislative bill to reverse those anti-transgender bills (laws). When it comes to transgender individuals facing adversity against the anti-transgender rhetoric from influential and powerful homo/transphobic politicians that consistently target transgender people, in this case, the new target has been transgender youths (and their families) since the transgender bathroom bill came about with brave young Gavin, who stood up alone against his school and his state creating the perfect avenue for others to have a voice and come out from the shadows, letting the whole world know that yes, we do exist!
Following suit, the transgender community backed Gavin in that fight and we all rose up from our safe zones to face this civil threat. Together, we all stood up against the anti-transgender bathroom bill, enlisting aid from our allies, and making sure that all our lobbying efforts to push back the anti-transgender bathroom bill from passing in some states. In Clark County, we have pushed SB-280 to pass and it was a huge win for us considering like California, a blue state, Nevada is a silver state, but had the potential to follow suit with the State of California in preserving transgender rights and treating transgender people as a protected class. SB-280 passed in March of 2021 with an Assembly Vote of 20-22. In Clark County, the all-gender placard is now affixed in most restrooms, following the lead of it's big sister state, California, making it safer for transgender people to do the most basic human needs which was to just release our bodies excrements, human waste, you know, simply to go pee or poo. This is a huge win compared to my experience when transitioning in Clark County where me and my fellow transgender kin were challenged harassed, bullied, and discriminated against or seen as evil, demons, or freaks of nature for using either sex/gender-assigned restrooms in public spaces because we were constantly being removed or banned by the cisgender community ruling what is cultured according to their belief systems.
For us transgender adults, in this day and age, we now have been standing up to fight for and protect our transgender youths because these anti-transgender politicians know that although they may not attack transgender adults and can't stand us transgender adults winning the battles, they know they can attack transgender youth and control them as an act of erasure and the mere eradication for the future growth of children identifying as transgender or being born transgender. Some of these states still practice a form of savage old school conversion therapy in secrecy and discretion. I have heard of horror and traumatic stories of this from my fellow transgender youths who desperately sought refuge from such barbaric treatments supported and enforced by their own family members who have rejected them and backed by anti-LGBTQIA+ commentators, politicians, and religious groups. Although, these conversion doctors and therapists love to flip the switch by imposing their religious beliefs to uphold their conditioned social customs by reversing the idea of our own community giving transgender youth the trans healthcare that they need to be deemed as "barbaric" and "unconventional" as spoken by the governor like the State of Texas, but what would a non-trans identified person know of the DNA around what makes up a transgender brain and how a transgender born person functions or is hard wired or structured? These statements and opinions, not facts, are being said by a non-transgender individual who lacks the profession, knowledge, and experience, who are less than qualified to treat transgender youths or determine the needs as a transgender identified human being.
Other than the anti-transgender bathroom bill, there were many other bills we fought against. Another bill was under way back in 2017 as an act to deny transgender people from partaking in the military even as a United States born citizen. I have supported our transgender troops on the frontlines facing the anti-transgender military ban where the law would prevent transgender individuals from joining and continue serving in the military whilst under the Trump administration. On both battles and accounts, with bathrooms and military matters relating to transgender individuals, what became a solemn threat became a BIG WIN to some of us transgender folx pushing against those anti-transgender bills (laws) and enforcing transgender rights on a both a county, state, and federal level. However, for some states, this threat and those fights are not yet over! When I speak of the Unacceptable States, I speak of the number one worse state for transgender people to live in, that state is the state of New York. New York has a long standing history of homo/transphobic violence. It was also where the Stonewall Riots began and the birth of LGBTQIA+ rights gave rise. The murder of transgender people is still very high in New York and those who govern New York have no laws to acknowledge or protect transgender people from such inequality and discrimination. I also can't stop there and say that is is just transgender people facing such adversity in New York but I am also very aware that LGBTQIA+ individuals face such heinous violence and threat just as equally as a transgender person would.
How many times have we all heard in the news that a transwoman has been murdered in broad daylight in New York? Or a gay couple taking the subway in New York getting attacked? TOO MANY! To me, this means, that in some of our 50 states, the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights is NOT YET OVER! However, the main target in our time are transgender people because it is among transgender people who present the challenge to break social gender norms, gender and the expression of our gender identity through physical form of gender representation that easily triggers more of the bashing, the hate, violence, and discrimination towards transgender and LGBTQIA+ people alike.
President Biden once said that, "Transgender discrimination is the civil rights issue of our time.", and I could not disagree more because I have experienced discrimination as a transman in 2022 and I still face it into present day 2023. Even though transgender people are considered a protected class in the gender-friendly states, even in those gender-friendly states, we still face major homo/transphobia and our rights are constantly being mocked and challenged.
So in what ways are our trans rights in gender-friendly states being challenged? Even though trans rights are enforced in these gender-friendly states, why is it still problematic? Well, in my experience, even though I have been transitioning for years and I am considered stealth in certain environments in my personal life, I still face the challenges of being visible with my gender expression and utilizing public restrooms in public spaces and the workplace because even though California does very well with offering all-gender restrooms to be more inclusive, there are only a few places that conform to the restriction of categorizing a Men's only restroom and a Women's only restroom. If you were to ask me what is my most deepest gender dysphoria and what triggers it? It would be the whole public restroom dilemma. Unless it is a family or all-gender restroom, I feel nervousness and fear using both restrooms, yes, both the men's and/or the women's, because as a trans guy who only have begun their surgical transition, I have only had my top-surgery but have not had my bottom-surgery because I'm still learning my options and not rushing into it, which means I still have my biological anatomy intact, so the reality is that I still pee like a woman and I can still bleed like a woman when I am not on my hormone medication which requires an injection dosage either weekly or biweekly depending on my blood pressure levels to lessen any health risks.
The structure of the men's restroom mostly have urinals, typical from 1-6 urinals, depending on how small or large the institutional structure, and only 1-2 stalls. There is obviously no disposable bins for used tampons or pads in the stalls or any tampon machine in the mens restroom which makes this a huge challenge and trigger for dysphoria for transmen. I've only seen a condom machine in the men's restroom a few times which I was against because condoms should be free of charge. The women's restroom may have 2-4 stalls, disposable bins in each stall, and of course, a tampon machine. The challenge is that regardless, transmen who need to utilize the restroom get the risk of being outed, bullied, raped, harassed, condemned, or banned, and the outcome can get quite violent so most trans people, both for trans men and especially for trans women, fear this so they hold their pee which can cause health problems.
There were a few occasions at my current workplace where out of respect for not scaring women during business hours and knowing the men's bathroom stall was being occuppied, I held my pee for hours till my bladder begun to hurt to avoid making others uncomfortable. When I finally was able to pee using the men's stall, peeing became excruciating because I end up relapsing my bladder and developing bladder atrophy which hurts and I have trouble relaxing and releasing because I've held it for too long. I couldn't do that to myself anymore so I had no other choice but to enter the women's restroom which I don't ever do this often in public because most public restrooms are all-gender inclusive. I normally wait for the men's stall to free up but regardless, my point is, this is why gender-assigned restrooms become both a social challenge and health problem for transgender people.
Never hold your pee!
So imagine this, if transgender-friendly states are dealing with a homo/transphobic or anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric with other low-minded Samaritans, realize that the level of animosity and ill-will be ten times magnified in the non-transgender-friendly states like Texas, New York, Mississippi, etc. where a sex and/or gender diverse individual is not protected in any way shape or form by its own councilman or governing state. Can I sit comfortably as I see the oppression occurring in 2023? No, I can not sit at home and be so comfortable. What I advocate is for allies and the LGBTQIA+ community continue to stand up for what is clearly so wrong in our programmed and conditioned society today. Transgender beings have always existed. One can't argue or debate away the folklore that exists on transgender beings who walked among gods and men for eons and I am sure the more godly countries that revere transgender individuals look at our society today and frown upon capital hill and the destruction of what was once revered once upon a time and to witness the censorship of transgender people.
In Hawaii, a legislation was passed to honor the māhū kāne (transgender man) and the māhū wahine (transgender women) because in ancient traditions, the māhū have always existed and the people have always recognized a third gender.
"Since the term māhū can have multiple spaces and experiences, Kumu Hina originally coined the terms: māhū kāne (transgender man) and māhū wahine (transgender woman). However, Kumu Hina believes that those terms should be revised due to scientific advancement and so she coined four new terms. Māhū who feel internally wahine (female) — emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and culturally — could use the term haʻawahine. If they feel more internally that they are kāne (men), they are haʻakāne. When they have taken on externally what they feel internally i.e. dressing as a female, have began to or had undergone hormone therapy and other forms of medical transitioning (including cosmetic surgery), then the term hoʻowahine would be used. Likewise, for māhū who feel that they are internally male and taking that form externally, then hoʻokāne. ..."
You will hear so many of this from other countries who honor a third gender including Argentina, Austria, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and Nepal. One can argue and debate the science and facts away, like anti-LGBTQIA+ conservative commentor and film maker, Dinesh D'Souza, and many other cancel-culture idols, these constant attacks will not cease but it sure does give the father of fear confidence, the mother of insecurity a huge flattery, a sister of self-scrutiny piety, a brother of self-hate adrenaline towards acts of violence, with a false pretense of superior social justice righteousness but in a very wrong way as a gateway to inflict oppression and harm on those who are different to the eyes of the grinning grim reaper. It is a space where even god and angels wish to take no part of in such scripture that is written by the men and women who think they know above all.
What do we do now? We keep doing what we have always done. Don't stop! This year, one of my end goals is to come out and be more visible than I have ever been. Although I can't shut down a complete nuisance like Dinesh D'Souza, I can at least laugh at his blissful ignorance at his aka debate attack tactics on those who are further marginalized by him but then again, individuals like him are oxy-morons and are doing exactly what those other haters are doing which is damaging the heart of society by adding the fuel to the fire with their endless thirst for debates to create theses wars among children of men. We won't be at full equality nor peace while people like him runs a muck in our world. What we can do is continue to stand our ground, know that today's truth is not tomorrow's truth as truth is always changing, stay transparent, never loose sight of our truer purpose in life, and create the equality and diversity that fulfils our souls as it is our God-given right on Earth to do so and no man can take away that power from us! I consider myself a heralding of changes that need to come to pass.
You can stone me, burn me, stab me, shoot me, poke me, punch me, kick me, rape me, hurt me, deny me, condemn me, spit at me, defile me, or try to erase me, but you will never have power over me because I am ME and I will always be me in soul, in heart, in mind, and in spirit. You can destroy and kill this body of mine but you can never truly KILL me. I am a bisexual transgender human being who exist, I have always existed, and will continue to exist. My name is Kaneda Yoshida, remember me!
Kaneda Yoshida (male pronouns: he/him/his) is a transgender activist, advocate, a trans brother to the Transgender Community and a fierce protector of trans youth. He is the original non-profit founder/leader of the Trans-Cis Alliance Coalition Organization (T.C.A.C, pronounced Tee-Kah). He actively and closely works with other LGBTQIA+ entities to bring about inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, justice, and equality for both the sex and gender diverse communities by campaigning, petitioning, and lobbying for individuals who face discrimination in schooling systems and in the workplace, rejection and abuse at home, as well as hate and violence in public spaces against LGBTQIA+ individuals. He has lobbied against anti-trans politicians, as well as capital institutions within the military, law enforcement, and city council government systems as well as took a stand against any entities that targets the health, livelihood, and well-being of LGBTQIA+ individuals.