Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hogtied- adventures in surgery.

Looking back on the past couple weeks a big punctuating event was the Hogtied Outlaw Variety show that happened on Tuesday night. It was organized by a group to pull money together for a friends chest surgery, which was happening faster than the funding organizations their hoops and paper trails are built for. He is one of many people for which the system of applying for surgery, and funding and waiting on lists for whoever is available wasn't going to work for. So thinking back to the best way that we know how to bring in some cash legally we gathered a group of people to spread the tasks of throwing a big party out amongst us, and rake in the cash for the cause. Everything went amazingly well because we had an awesome group of people, all with different strengths, some with experience planning events, and others with very valuable logistical abilities or bomb network connections. Being a part of a radical community of queer artists, activists, cyclists and freaks feels so right and I can't imagine what my life would look like without this type of people in it. I feel incredibly priveleged to know and share with other people who are transitioning, or just fucking gender, and even those that actively "live so unapologetically outside the confines of domesticated femininity" (taken from off the map- microcosm pub. portland ore.) Nothing makes me more happy than to be given the job as the cowboy who is hogtying young drag kings and their cowboyed up butchy fuck buddies, boys you'd only think were boys because you saw them at the urinal, leather pant wearing keytar playing artists, along side straight laced straight folks who are getting their first taste of queer culture and perhaps the taste test of kink that will change their lives forever all for polaroid photos that are being sold so a buddy can have a surgery that will change his life.
Another young feller at the show was able to collect a list of email addresses to help him bolster support for his surgery, which was scheduled to happen yesterday, but was called off because the catholic hospital trawled his chart to find out he was trans (the surgery was not a SRS surgery, but a breast reduction that had been in the works for 2 years), and played their catholic card saying that no SRS surgeries and apparently any surgeries on trans patients would not be allowed. His surgeon is trying to find an avenue to get him back on the table and under the knife and he is trying to to raise awareness of the discrimination of this facility, without slapping himself in the face and loosing the surgery all together by saying the wrong thing to the wrong people.
Yet one more friend, who wasn't at the show and doesn't live in town any more was recently advised by his knee surgeon that he didn't feel that he was making smart choices in his life and that surgery was a very serious and dangerous endeavour, completely unprovoked considering that this patient said NOTHING to this doctor about any plans or intentions to have any surgeries what so ever. This doctor made an assumption that since his patient was medically transitioning, taking testosterone, that he must be "going all the way". A misconception that I would hope more people in the medical profession could get over already.
Some of the kids I work with, without knowing my history or official gender or sex status, seem to have an affinity towards me and connect on a sort of "I know you understand ways that I am different cause we're sort of different in the same sorts of ways". I am the boy who will proudly wear pink and not permit any sort of gender stereotyping or homophobic behaiviour whatsoever. The 7 and 8 year olds that are figuring themselves out, recognizing how important they feel having an adult who breaks the mold in their life is, have a special bond with me. They appreciate having an ally with whom they can share things like the fact that their favourite characters in guess who are Chris and Kyle because you can't really tell if they are girls or boys, and get the point when I explain why I never ask the question, "is your person a boy? or is your person a girl?" They get it when I say that sometimes it isn't clear. That you don't know someone is a boy or girl from how they look, if the have a mustache or earrings. They get it when I draw pictures of my favourite things from vacation, including me and 2 friends in a canoe; and that when they ask if the people in the picture are boys or girls I can just say they are my friends, and not everyone is a girl or a boy. Its not always as simple as the binary. Now I just wish that these kids could explain it to the doctors.

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