There is still a lot of things going on inside me and turning, and I'd like to share two words that I grow attached to, one a fair amount longer now than the other, but both are terms that I seem to had lacking in my vocabulary which I tried to explain in a different way. After finding out about them, I noticed that both what I felt and believed were actual things that were not totally uncommon concepts, even though most people wouldn't know about them.
The first term that I stumbled upon years ago was the term of pansexuality. (Do not dare to read the German Wikipedia article. It's ridiculous wrong, insulting and shows that they don't understand the topic at all.) I always had issues to explain my intimate preference to others. Especially after they found out about me being female on the inside. Questions arose (if they understood that I'm open about these things when I post the poem publicly) along the lines of "what are you now: gay, lesbian, hetero—and if the latter, what does that mean?". My usual answer was that I fall in love with people, not with their bodies, and that things will eventually work out if meant to be. And thus even though I love my "Bi" shirt, it doesn't really describe properly how I swing, so to say.
The latter term I discovered just recently. A friend of mine with whom I chat every now and then told me about it, and when we met again last autumn, they wore a button of the Italian community for Polyamory (I so much prefer the Italian logo to the "widely used symbol", to be honest). It was an eye opening moment for me. I often mentioned to people that I felt like I have a big heart, being able to store multiple people in it. It always puzzled me that when I'm together with someone (and I always was faithful) why I should feel bad and especially keep it a secret when there is someone else who touches my heart, too. Society seems to see this already as a breach of trust, no matter whether it gets pursued or not, just the thought is enough. But it never changed anything with respect to the person I was together with, so what's the deal? Finding out about this term explained so much to me and made a lot of sense. It is about honesty and communication, which I see lagging in a lot of relationships these days...
So here you are, getting another inside view on me. And I'm sure that there will be again the one or the other person who considers to use this as ammunition against me, but you know, being open about it acts as a shield. It's not embarrassing for me, never was. And like always, I hope that I can help others feeling similar being lost for words or an understanding that it's not as weird as it might feel.
This poem was triggered by a discussion with a special person—not special in the sense I address in the poem though.
My life's hating me
But it is not a one-way:
I'm hating my life
Hate being special
I know I can help others
But what about me?
All quite supportive
Respect for my openness
Though, no step further
No clue how to handle me
Afraid to ask me
Hooking up with me?
Just scolding words left
Want to be normal
Maybe I'll lie to myself
Though that won't work out
I am what I am
And sometimes it just pains me:
Hate being special
I'm hating my life
But it is not a one-way:
My life's hating me
Please refrain from asking whether I feel fine, I am in good mood. :) But I haven't written anything in a way too long time, I noticed how little actually during selecting poems for the International Poetry Night during debconf. So I picked up the idea and caressed it until I came up with the above piece about with which I am quite happy. Think about it, and ... try to enjoy.
Things happened as they liked to happen: the video streaming setup for debconf still was giving me a bit of headaches, and suddenly it was too late to print out the poem because I didn't even had CUPS installed on my new laptop. Also, having reread it recently I noticed that it wasn't flowing too well, so I was uncertain whether it would be possible to properly perform it.
I attended nevertheless. It was rather cosy in El Panal, but still a fair amount of people there. And to my surprise, quite a lot of Debian people were presenting poetry. Some in Spanish, some in English, but also one in Japanese, one in German and even one Esperanto. I had the feeling that I really should present something too. I still was extremely nervous, but during the day I had opened some of my poems in the browser, so I started to write down The Girl and the Boy, and when Fito called me to the microphone, I think most people were able to tell how nervous I was about it.
But it went well. It even went so well that I felt the need to perform another poem. I chose that's what friends are for, quickly scribbling it down in bad light. The choice was easy, given that it is one that means a lot to me and that an haiku already got presented. It was really a nice experience to not only write these poems and publishing them on deviantART and in my blog, but also to present them to a live audience.
Then there was a break. Actually I thought it was over already, but they started a second round. And I somehow liked the way it worked out, so I started to dig for something else to present. I settled for Strange—and Jonathan insisted on translating it into Spanish and present that version, too. His version wasn't in Haiku style, but I think it still was a very nice idea. It seem to have been received well, but given that I don't speak Spanish I can only hope he was able to catch the feelings that I did put into this short piece. I am confident he did well. :)
As final piece I settled for another short piece, this time it was in German, Wahre Liebe. I think I was able to transport the feelings of it with adding pauses in certain spots, although I fear most people didn't get it because it was ... well, in German.
Again, a fair amount of the people who presented poetry were from Debian, actually more than half of it I think. And I am wondering: When will the CfP for next year's debconf open so we can try to establish this event as regular debconf event? And who knows, maybe I'll find the courage then to perform Mermaids.
It's almost seven years now since I wrote/published Mermaids. It was an important step in my life, confessing publicly what I've found out about myself, how I feel and identify myself. It definitely has been a certain turning point in my life.
A year later, there was the Debconf6 in Mexico, which was just as important. I was wearing a skirt for the first time, and that for the whole duration of the two weeks. It was an enormous feeling of freedom, and I knew I was feeling at home. That was also the time I shaved off my beard.
And since? Well, I sort of limited myself to these two weeks every year. Debconf is my haven, Debconf is my home. Here I allow myself to be myself. Debian is my family. And like in every family, there are people who won't understand, but that doesn't matter. I feel comfortable to express myself in this crowd in the way I feel.
Being abroad seems to help with the confidence, and it seems like it also shines through. I haven't had lots of strange looks. To the contrary, when I went with a skirt to a homosexual acceptance event at home in Vienna, there was a group of gays who were pointing and laughing. Quite an interesting experience, one would assume that people who are wanting more acceptance would be more acceptable and tolerant themselves...
But, I don't think I will ever take the step toward actually turning my body into a female one. It was an important step for me to find out about my inner self, and it actually managed to make me accept my male body; even though I can totally relate to people not being able to understand this—both people not in the situation and people being in the situation and needing the physical adjustment to be able to be happy again. But this is what and how I am: Contents may vary from packaging.
This though has an inherited problem: as I am not (usually) heading for a female appearance (besides my skirt during Debconf), people keep addressing me with a male pronoun, even, or rather especially when using my nick Rhonda. This is something that I consider a fair bit disturbing, especially when it comes from people that I consider to address with the term friends. One would assume that people who you share a fair bit of private life with would be the ones who can understand and relate better than others. But that's where we are, and I also can understand the troubles: I'm not giving them much visual help for fixing their thoughts.
I found the confidence in my body, and like most of you know, I have a son I dearly love (and miss like hell these two weeks), so I know how to use the tools it comes with, frankly spoken. But I won't go the road to adjust my body to be a female one instead, just to convince people that I really am the female person that I identify as. It might be hard for you to understand that, it might be hard for you to accept it—it is also hard for me, to fight for the acceptance that I thought are an inherent part of the term friendship.
I have deepest respect for the people who feel the requirement and have the strength to adjust their body to their mind. It though just isn't the road for me. I already have enough uncertainties in my life to cope with, and I don't need another one to deal with, related to that I might not be able to accept my body after the transition than I am able to accept it now. It's just not important enough for me to find my place. My place is here, my home is Debconf.
If I'll make it through this week it's because of these special people in my life. They help me through thick and thin, they believe in me, they are there for me. There is one universal term for them, friends. The term in its real meaning, in its original meaning, not in the perverted sense that sites like Facebook want to make you believe that it's alright to apply to random bystanders. You won't go as far for those as you'd go for your true friends, so don't let them steal away the meaning of the word from you.
As music is one of the most driving force for me and this song makes me wanna cry, this is what I want to send out to my friends who are able to motivate me to keep me going: That's What Friends Are For. And as this song is so special I won't drown it in two more like I usual do, this blog entry goes to my personal section anyway. There is though a second video of a live version of it that in my opinion adds quite something to it, it contains a short interview with Dionne Warwick at the end.
On 20th of March, at five to midnight, we have released out most straining and time consuming project ever. Its codename is Simon André and we are pleased that it was (more or less) a smooth release process with just a minor delay of three days—but the best don't release on time but when it is ready.
Because everyone loves screenshots, and a few might be viewed on our dedicated Screenshot Page, for completeness this announce contains one:
After one week into the release we have to say the feedback and the interest so far is pretty good, the maintenance is requesting its toll, but nothing really unexpected happened so far. We look into a bright future!
Thank you for your attention, enjoy the nice spring weather!
It's a bit strange. Still. Writing this personal part of my blog, opening some of my most inner thoughts to the wild public. Though, so wild it doesn't seem to be. To be honest I can't remember having received any bad feedback on my personal stuff, only positive, supportive ones. (Or, there was one. Though, it wasn't related to the core of the personal section but someone thinking it would be "cool" to misinterpret some statement therein and try to hurt me with it. It only made me laugh at them, trying to "use" it as an argument.)
No bad feedback might be related to that I don't have comments enabled because I don't want to have a moderation system that would make it look like I filter out bad comments but I also don't want to open it up to SPAM. And people who propably usual leave scathing comments don't consider it convenient to address me directly, via any IM system, including emails.
Anyway, opening in that way has quite some benefits: For a start, it helps me myself to keep track of things that happened. Secondly, it hopefully helps others that are in similar situations to see that they aren't alone out there and that one can survive with not hiding it. But last but not least some people address me and provide me with interesting links on the topic.
I think they shouldn't be just hidden in my personal mailbox so I am going to offer them to a broader audience here. I won't show the names of who sent them along, I'm not sure if they would like being connected to the topic. But they can be assured of my blessing for offering them to me.
First link I like to hand out is an article from advocate.com about a pregnant husband. Yes, this was no typo and the reason why I haven't posted it right the next day because I received that link on March 31st. I can just wish all the best to Thomas, Nancy and their yet unborn girl. Looking forward to see baby photos. :)
The second article I got sent lately is When Girls Will Be Boys. It is about the transition story of Ray and acceptance problems. Pretty long but definitely worth reading.
Again, thanks to the people who offered me the links to the articles, I truly appreciate them—and I hope some of the people reading my blog will too, or at least that it might change their perception and opinion on "such people".
One says the eyes are the mirror of the soul. I made this experience back in easter for the first time. I was over at my brother's place for easter celebration when I got up in the morning, went into the bath and looked into the mirror for morning toilet. I washed my face like always with cold water to refresh myself, and when I removed my hands... I was sure I was looking into a female face. It quite a lot bewildered me; it was the first time this happened. And I wasn't even properly shaved...
An experience like this is something special I guess, and it happened more and more often in the meantime. I guess this is one more proof that what I feel is the right thing.
... even though still some others seem to be immensly ammused by it. When I went to the ceilidh at the debconf in EDI I received some pretty nasty responses to my outfit, which I didn't expect within a project about Freedom and Openness. Though, I give the people the doubt of not knowing what they have done. It's too much in human nature to joke about things they don't understand, not knowingly insulting others. I'd like to dedicate this fine tune from Garbage to them: Bleed Like Me. If you listen closely to the lyrics you might be able to find out why...
There has also been a genderfuck night in the club next to the night venue which on the other hand was pretty nice. It was attended by quite some people from Debian, some expectedly, some to my happy surprise. Thank you again guys, for making this evening to something special. I hope you keep it in as nice remembrance as me.
My former SO drew a while ago a pretty nice picture about me. I didn't ask for it, or did hint it, which makes me even more happier about it. Thank you Babsi, really. :) I switched my hackergotchi on Planet Debian to it just in case.
Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. I stumbled upon it in the Venus Envy comic I got notified about earlier this year, you might want to check its contribution, but beware, it might as disturb you as it does to me. I'm thankful that Erin dis survive it, because she gives so much strength with her comic to me and possibly also others...
Not sure if you remember my blog entry about Xing. Anyway, something interesting happened again which I don't want to keep for myself. I've taken a look at the english version and well, it said Gender—not Sex. So I requested to have it changed to match my Gender, don't want to lie to them. I even noticed this meaning difference in the comment field about those changes which needs to get approved by the team.
Guess what, it was denied. With a template answer including the possible reason of that "it doesn't fit our guidelines". But the most interesting part of the reply was in the first line:
Sehr geehrte Frau Fuchs,
... which means something like "Dear Ms. Fuchs". I guess the change was possible at least in parts of their system. ;)
I later sent them some support request asking about maybe a non-template answer why it was declined, including the links to wikipedia again. Well, I was a bit astonished to find out that it was accepted and changed. Yet again, there was something funny with this mail, yet again in the first line of it:
Some small impressions of Sunday that made it the happiest of my life: spent the day with a very special person—good indian food for lunch—Spiderman 3 in the afternoon which I enjoyed quite a bit—meeting up with friends in the Metalab, have a nice chat and quick dinner—moved over to B72 for the concert of Grossstadtgeflüster which was absolutely great—received a "Sudoku for Dummies" book from Berk with whom I did Sudokus at lunch at work until he let the company—received a pink-fluffy handbag with matching riveted belt and a mini tartan skirt—received a Mermaid mousepad from Alex—received a Grossstadtgeflüster patch from Raphael.
Hope you don't take the list of some presents as belittling the others. It's just that these meant something special to me, not that I didn't enjoy the others.
Some friends were still a bit puzzled about the tickets I bought—they tried to give me the money for it. They weren't aware of the try to at least thank them with them for that they were and are there for me in bad times, giving me support and strength when I need it. And I can say that most of them enjoyed it, even though I was distracted quite a bit... And be sure, this is what you get when you let me do some birthday arrangements on my own. ;)
I'm not sure if you have heard about Xing (formerly known as OpenBC) yet. It is meant to be a platform to keep in touch with your business contacts, by having them update their contact data on them own. It also offers additional services, including discussion groups, because since Orkut we know that such a platform won't work without. (But I don't want to rant about Orkut here, thanks for asking.)
I stumbled upon a group called GayBC. I guess from the name of it everyone is able to find out what it's about. And it is a closed group, so people who are afraid of discrimination because of stating there preferences publically can feel save. I though that might be the group I'd like to join, having no real problem with my own sexuality of being Bi. (Although, I say it myself that my poem "Mermaids" isn't about the sexual part at all and people who seem to read this in it are not understanding it.) Given that there wasn't too much information on the group page about what they want in the join info I didn't provide too much informations and was rejected of course. I say of course, because that just gave me the impression that the moderators do really care.
Alright, I told myself, I'll answer their mail with all informations I could provide. I'm not sure if my fault was that I did that offsite per email or what, but it was never responded to, at all. So I tried to look on the site again for the group page, only I wasn't able to find it anymore through the search. After some digging around through the system and other groups I found out the schema of how the URL has to look to see that I just see on the page that I was rejected. No informations on how to contact the moderators anymore, no information on if this is permanent or whatsnot.
So I tried to contact the site support, asking if there is a timeout to such a reject and posibility to reapply, or any idea how to go on. Well, they first tried to tell me to contact the moderators (and ignored the other question). After I told them that that's not possible and teaching them about their own system, they finally forwarded a mail from me with more informations to the moderators. After a while I got a response from one of their moderators saying that as a Bi person I'm not gay enough to join the group...
I was like... Uh! A group, that is about people facing discrimination in quite different ways is discriminating themself. I wasn't able to think straight for a while after I read that, trying to find out about what's going on...
Well, I thought to myself, the group is German language, and doesn't want to have Bi people in it—so I thought I should turn the anger into something productive. Turning emotions into something productive/creative is the way quite a lot of conflicts can be avoided and good things happen. I applied for creating a group called LesBiGay with the intended purpose of being a closed group too, but not discriminating against Bi people and being English language, and explicitly stated in the comments that the existing GayBC group doesn't want Bi people amongst them.
Guess once what happened. The staff from OpenBC rejected the request with the reasoning that GayBC exists already and that I should get in contact with them. Interestingly that message was sent in a way that doesn't allow a reply...
The much I like the feature of having all the contact informations for the people available in a nice way and having them current the much I have to make you aware that the rest of the system stinks. Keep away from it, it works against you, doesn't offer minimal informations or features and flexibility.
On a sidenote—a dear friend of me showed me Venus Envy after my last blog entry and it really made my last days. Read it all! :D It gives me quite a lot of strength, and there I found this beauty that I dedicate to the GayBC group on OpenBC. Enjoy.
I think it's time to start blogging more often about this topic, and fill this section a bit more. I mean, Mermaids was a long time ago... And debconf in Mexico with my first try on skirts, getting rid of my beard and dying my hairs red is history in the meantime, too.
In summer I met upin Bratislava with a longtime friend from a MUD I played way back, and enjoyed running around in a skirt there, too. Gladly it was a sunny day. It was though... people back here in Vienna looked more awkward at me than in Bratislava. At least that was my impression...
Had been to Extremadura for the i18n meeting which was quite nice. It was quite productive, even though I have to admit that I haven't done much on that front since. Even in Spain people didn't look that strange at my skirt as over here in Austria...
At our company's Christmas party I got into a talk with a work colleague about the topic and she informed me that a former working colleague of us is starting with hormone treatment after the year change and if I'd fancy a meeting with him. I was quite happy about that offer so we arranged a meeting on December 23rd. It was a bit strange at first to address him as he, and we didn't know how to start talking because said working colleague was late, but after a while we talked about various things and even were finished with the more interesting topics when she finally appeared. We arranged to visit the next Trans-X meeting after the year change.
I left them for leaving home, but I wasn't able to catch my bus on time—the subway had serious problems. Well, I thought I might spend the night in the Flex so I called another working colleague who usually hangs out there about what was going on that evening, and interestingly he told me it was Gay Heaven night. I stopped believing in coincidence long ago... Anyway, was a nice evening all in all, they had a Christmas rabbit handing out "I love you" stamps with pink ink-pads. :)
The Trans-X meeting wasn't too bad. It was some discussions about various topics. After a while my first shyness dropped a bit and I started to join in the discussion at some points. After the first started to leave I had some more direct talks with two of the women from there, one of them had mostly the same trip home as me so we talked on in the subway.
A week later they had set a transgender weekend—no wonder, it was the weekend of the Rosenball. They were meeting in a cafe on Friday and I joined them, a bit less shy now that I at least knew some of the faces. Maria was quite ill and was sitting in her jacket within the cafe, shivering like hell... But all in all it was a nice meeting too, got to know some more nice people.
I was a bit lazy from there on, didn't join another meeting... But another working colleague did invite me to the carnival party of his sister. I thought I could try a bit more than before, in the disguise of the carnival party, so I used a bra my former wife left behind, filled it with some socks, and put up some eye makeup (quite discreet, I hate overdone makeup already on natural females...) The light there wasn't the best, so they just saw my tall body at first. It took them a while to even notice the skirt, and only after I put off my long-sleeve they haven't noticed my breast. But well, I don't really blame them, my working colleague has announced me as a he, and given the low lights it's not too bad. Though, after the host noticed my breasts he asked if he could touch them and I even received a quite nice kiss from him. :D
I stumbled upon the Gaia TG Guild on Gaia Online—a quite interesting web-based community. In general Gaia is filled with mostly kids, many of them immature, not able to spell and considering that even cool, but there are some quite special guilds that are lots of fun. But still, when I stumbled upon the TG Guild I was in awe of that such a thing could exist there. What I read made me feel totally happy and more confident on the path I'm having ahead of me.
Last week I finally had been to an Trans-X meeting again, and Maria showed some quite interesting reportages about transsexual people—including one that was on TV just the day before about a 14 year old girl who is already on hormone treatment and has the absolute support from her family since she was 4 and confronted them with cutting "it" off when they don't allow her to wear skirts when going out, too. All the best to you, Kim! I so envy your strength...
I'm sorry about the length of this entry—but I'm sick of people who tell me that I'm only playing it, or that I would hide... And I also see it as a chance to document my path for myself. I promise—the next entries will be more often and thus shorter.
Alright. Have been working on this poem for quite a while, got me sort of an editor for some suggestions and proof reading. I guess it might light the last bits about why I'm using Rhonda as nick these days....
Life ain't easy, that's nothing new
though for some it's more true than for others
This is about me, just to get it through
to all the people, sisters and brothers
People put you in boxes, no matter
how much you like it or what you try to avoid
So it might take you a while until you open up
and when you finally do, they might get paranoid
You see, being transgender isn't easy, you don't fit
on neither side of the sex related weirdness
You aren't allowed in a picture that is "the girls only"
and you get pushed away for not hiding your cuteness
People judge by what they see, not by what they feel
it's so weird and stupid it makes my inside scream
And when people get to know you just virtually
and once you open to them you awake like from a bad dream
What's the difference, when people know you only online
if you are a girl on the inside, and recognized as one?
You would say none, though for some people it is
and all the friendship that was forming suddenly is gone
You know you might never have known each other offline
and you felt safe for it being only virtually anyway
But now everything is completely different
You are reduced to your sex and discriminated that way
It might sound strange, I must admit
speaking of sexual discrimination as a male
But when you don't identify yourself that way
your face might turn up being strangely pale
People put others in boxes because it's easy
so they don't have to think or care
They only find out when it's done to themselves
how much it hurts to be the one in there
My plea is simple: People are individuals
So treat them individually as they are
And don't apply the things that worked for others
just like you are driving a similar car
Note to self: When going on something like a daytrip and you are putting sunblocker on and you are running around in sandals, don't forget to cream your lower legs which are shown below the trousers, too!!! *ouch*
There's one thing I found out: When you feel like crying go to the sauna — noone will notice it. Driving around on your skates for quite a while drinking beer doesn't help, but crying in the sauna afterwards helps a bit. Too bad that it appears to not to help enough to not come up again when out of the sauna, so everyone sees you breaking down... Oh well.
Appart from that, it's not like I'm not used to it. Especially I'm used to people telling me that they want to listen to me and when one is almost ready to find the words to say and poor your heart infront of them they leave you right there. A slap in the face wouldn't have worked better, it just would had been more honest... Wasn't my evening at all. I was at least strong enough to not starting to get totally drunk, I was too terrified of what I might have done then....
Soonish they are going to take a group picture. I'm not too sure if I want to be part of it. I don't feel like I'm part of it. Andreas Schuldei's talk on Small Groups seem to be what debconf is about: Flocking together in small groups, the same people that flock together at home already, and well... there's no group here that I'm flocking together with at home. Too bad.
Monday was a really bad day. First it started off with some call from the office from a sales collegue who didn't listen to reason but was just complaining about our sysadmin team. At work I noticed that he even sent the corresponding mail to an address he never used before, making it hard to find... Later I got notified that a dear uncle of mine died and gets buried on friday. And if this wouldn't be enough for a bad day the European Council Presidency adopted the Software Patent Agreement against the council's rules...
At that time, the day did finish itself on me. I tried to get my work done and hope I didn't do too many mistakes. Even finally got around to upload the new sponsored upstream version of libetpan1 into the pool. But it didn't help much for a distraction. Disappointed a dear friend really much by publishing a (to me, at that time) stupid private statement and getting him into trouble. Tried to help him in return though to get some "inner knowledge" about the Überraschungseier for a friend of him from an old online community I'm in. Though I wasn't able to find the conference room there anymore (I guess it got removed, like everything interesting gets removed or discontinued after some time...) but stumbled across a different conference room there: "Hate and Selfhate".
Exactly what I needed in that mood, thank you... There was this link in it to Selbsthass which really made me wonder. Reading the page touched me to the bottom of my heart (especially the Dialog), though I'm not cutting myself and haven't been (sexually) abused. But the page about narcissism shocked me and just enforced my own knowledge that I'm female inside. I don't care what (most) people think about me, they don't know me. If you want to put me into some stereotype, feel free but you are mostly always wrong and won't receive my acknowledge. I don't fit anywhere, I'm an individual, not a mass-production. I can understand why people wonder about Rhonda and what's behind it, and from time to time I might write something like this up letting out some background information about that part of me, which turns out to be more and more important to myself. But pretty please let myself choose the time for it.
I like to thank one very special person, though. That person helped me through the monday evening and managed that I could go to sleep with feeling quite cheerful again. I have no idea how I deserve friends like this, maybe it's not about deserving anyway, but I know that my life wouldn't be what it is without that very special person. You know who you are, thank you a thousands time!!!
Friends are an important part of my life. And I'm really glad that there are some I can depend on, even in the toughest times. I know about at least two other persons that I could depend on to be there for me, and I'm sorry that I didn't contact you two, too. And I'm quite sure you two know that I'm talking about you. Thank you, too, for staying with me and being there for me when I need some help to make it through this hell called life....