I finally admitted to myself around a year ago that I needed to medically transition. What this means for me is that I’ll be masculinising myself with the addition of testosterone and eventually having top surgery.
I’m doing this because the dysphoria of being called she/her/woman/girl everyday is destroying me. I’m not a man either and I never will be. I’m non-binary and I’m transmasculine. However in the masculinising process I expect that I’ll get misgendered from the other side with he/him/boy/man. That doesn’t hurt me nearly as much and it comes with it’s own set of privileges that people who are seen as women do not get.
So what is male privilege?
I took this straight from Wikipedia:
“Special privileges and status are granted to men in patriarchal societies. These are societies defined by male supremacy, in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. With systemic subordination of other genders, men gain economic, political, social, educational, and practical advantages that are more or less unavailable to other genders. The long-standing and unquestioned nature of such patriarchal systems, reinforced over generations, tends to make privilege invisible to holders; it can lead men who benefit from such privilege to ascribe their special status to their owned individual merits and achievements, rather than to unearned advantages.”
(Obviously I edited it slightly to erase their binary nonsense, but you get the standard textbook definition.)
What this means is that anyone who “passes” as a man in our society gets certain privileges. This includes cis men, trans men and transmasculine nonbinary folks. This manifests in the way people treat you at work, how people value your opinions, opportunities open to you, how people greet you etc etc.
(Please note that passing is cis normative term that many trans people reject and that trans folks have their own set of challenges regardless of any male privilege bestowed on them by society.)
At this present moment before I start testosterone, I have what I call “fleeting male privilege.” It’s given to me and taken away at a rate of knots when people realise I have boobs or that my voice is too high to be considered masculine.
Until recently I’ve never had a sustained period of male privilege bestowed on me. My best friend is a nonbinary trans man and happens to do that weird thing the cis defined as “passing.” We were walking with another friend (who’s also trans) through Cardiff city centre and I guess all three of us looked like young white cis men because people got out of our way. People avoided eye contact. No one bothered us at all. This struck me because neither of them noticed and I noticed with every inch of my being. It made me really uncomfortable.
I think everyone deserves a high level of respect, dignity and opportunity but I guess that’s why I’m a feminist. I’ll be documenting my emerging male privilege as I transition.
In June 1969 the movement for LGBTQIA+ equality and liberation began. A series of riots took place centring around the Stonewall Inn in New York. These riots were instigated by transgender women of colour and the next year, the first Pride Parade was held. (You can read more about the history of Pride HERE.)
In recent years Pride has been the victim of commercialisation, police acceptance and the perpetrator of documented trans and bisexual erasure. We are fighting a battle within our own movement to reclaim our heritage and our purpose. We forget that trans women of colour started our journey to liberation because of police aggression and centre our celebrations around cis gay men.
All is not lost however. Various Pride’s around the world now incorporate political blocs. I was part of one that was removed from Pride by the police in the summer of 2017. Those who are fed up of Pride being taken from us, have splintered and created their own after parade parties, much of them political in nature and centring around queer and trans people especially those of BAME origin.
In the world outside of Pride and our little queer families we tend to make for ourselves, the struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights continues. Transphobia and homophobia are rife in schools, workplaces and the media. There’s a moral panic about trans children in the UK media which is damaging communities already on the edge of society. We’ve already had one trans woman murdered in 2018. How many more are we going to lose?
Then there’s the intersex babies that no one talks about. The babies who’s sex and gender are decided for them at birth and surgery undertaken to change their ambiguous genitals so they match the sex the parents have decided for them. There are many documented of cases of ongoing psychological damage in intersex adults.
So with all of that to contend with, I was surprised to see an event in London calling itself, “Vegan Pride.” It takes after various events around the world, including one in Toronto which after it’s first year had to rename itself due to uproar from the LGBTQIA+ community.
So why “Vegan Pride?” Why not any other number of names it could have been that doesn’t have any LGBTQIA+ association? London Vegan Parade? March for Veganism? Vegans United Parade? Nope. They HAD to appropriate queer culture and use it for themselves.
Some people have mistaken it as a parade for LGBTQIA+ vegans, but it’s anything but. If you go onto the Facebook event you’ll see a big group of privileged cis white vegans claiming they are oppressed for an ethical choice they have chosen to make, “all lives matter” rhetoric and certain people who have known Nazi affiliations. I even saw a cis friend of mine silence queer people’s objections to them stealing our culture. I was shocked and suddenly felt really unsafe. I’ve yet to confront him about it. Maybe he’ll see this and realise what he’s done. 😦 The event organisers are banning any LGBTQIA+ people who comment objecting, thus silencing our objection.
The whole event is really off putting for vegans and non-vegans alike. It waters down everyone’s message. The message for queer liberation, the ongoing struggles of queer POC and it screams of human centricity. What about the animals?
The worst part? It clashes with one of the biggest and most prolific Pride events in theUK: Brighton Pride.
Please remember that vegans are not oppressed. Oppression needs a power structure to uphold it. Your uncle making bacon jokes or you not being able to get a decent sandwich for lunch is not oppression. It’s just difficulties from a life choice that you have made, a choice which so many other people do not have, putting you in a position of privilege not misfortune. Queer and trans people did not choose and cannot unchoose who they are, like you can with your veganism.
In closing I would like to ask you to boycott this event and tell people why you are doing it, especially if you are an ally. We need you more now than ever.
In June 1969 the movement for LGBTQIA+ equality and liberation began. A series of riots took place centering around the Stonewall Inn in New York. These riots were instigated by transgender women of colour and the next year, the first Pride Parade was held.
Let me just say that again for the people who may have missed it:
The LGBTQIA+ rights movement was started by TRANS WOMEN OF COLOUR.
Why then for almost two generations did we refer to Pride colloquially as, “Gay Pride” and the LGBTQIA+ rights movement as the “Gay Rights Movement?”
The western world revolves around cisgender white males. It has done so for thousands of years. White cis men invented the patriarchy and white supremacy to keep the rest of us in our place and subservient to them. Don’t think we as queer or trans people are exempt from that, because we aren’t.
Every movie or documentary ever made about the Stonewall riots has been filled with cis white gay men. The most recent, “Stonewall” movie had a white gay guy throw the first brick that started the riots. Martha P Johnson will be rolling in her grave.
Even the famous UK charity Stonewall spent years fighting for the rights of lesbians, gays and bisexuals without giving a single thought about the trans women who started the whole damned thing.
The Stonewall charity are now fighting for trans rights too, but like many gay centered pages such as Pink News, they are allowing rampant transphobia to go unchecked in their comments sections.
It makes you wonder why 48 years ago trans people even bothered. Our rights have come along at a snail’s pace whilst the “gay charities” gain popular opinion, legal recognition and specifically in the UK almost entirely full equality with heterosexuals.
Are we content to be shut off like this? Well we have been I suppose. Waiting for our gay comrades to turn around and help us, the way we have helped them.
Now is our time. Lets fight for our rights and for inclusivity for the most vulnerable in our community. Lets call out the LGB bigots who make jokes about gender neutrality and dismantle the online spaces rife with transmisogyny. Lets support and help raise up our trans siblings of colour.
Fuck racism. Fuck cissexism. Fuck transmisogyny. Fuck transphobia. Fuck the LGB community out for themselves without a second thought for the TQIA.
When National Geographic magazine announced they were going to do a whole issue on gender, I was understandably excited but sceptical. Here I examine the good and bad parts of The Gender Issue.
They start out pretty badly to be honest. They have interviews with Gloria Steinem and Sheryl Sandberg. Gloria goes on to state that, “the idea of race and gender are divisive.” That’s a really privileged comment to make in my opinion and has no place in modern feminism.
The magazine goes on to ask questions of them both about binary gender:
What advice would you give girls and boys today?
Nice one NG! Erased in the first interviews. At this point I want to throw the fucking thing out the window and hope it hits a TERF in the face. ARGH!
Page five comes with a diverse image of people of different genders and races from across the world and a list of terms relating to them. For example it gives definitions of gender expression and gender fluidity. There could have been more of this. It’s 4 pages long and probably the best thing in the entire magazine. It was nice to see my identity covered too. That’s not something I’ve seen in a mainstream magazine before.
So now I’m hopeful. They get that gender isn’t binary, right? Nope. The next few pages are filled with binary gender statistics. I could have been erased entirely by science anywhere, but in the pages of a magazine claiming to be exploring gender, it hurts a tad bit more. I dunno if I’m just over reacting now. What did I expect? A magazine about gender to actually explore other genders than cis male and cis female properly?
A few pages later and I come across an article about intersex butterflies. Interesting. They explained what intersex was earlier and that the term, “hermaphrodite” is considered offensive. So what do they go on to do? Describe the butterflies as hermaphrodites. Are you fucking serious? What actually is life?
More binary gender stats about cis men and cis women. *yawn*
I’m actually bored shitless now and angry. Why am I even reading this tripe? The next set asks kids from around the world about gender. They include one transgirl for a bit of variety, but even she sees gender as male and female only. (She’s only 9 so we’ll let her off.)
Rethinking Gender is a gripping few pages. It examines the science behind our gender identities, different cultures with accepted third genders and the legality of officially changing your gender from the one you were assigned at birth. I actually thoroughly enjoyed this section.
The whole rest of the magazine is dedicated to:
How different cultures celebrate children becoming adults i.e men and women. That would have been fine if they had included other genders too. Obviously not though.
Paternal leave in Sweden. Um what?
Gender roles…..binary gender roles. Not the cool ones.;)
It was hard to read this issue and it was hard to write this blog because it brought out some very angry thoughts. Buy it if you fancy fucking screaming at it and smacking your head against the wall repeatedly. Also and just for clarity, fuck the cistem and fuck the binary.
I’m a big fan of jack fruit and this recipe is perfect for it. A burrito needs to be flavoursome and filling. Jack fruit takes on any flavour you give it but like tofu, doesn’t taste of anything on it’s own. Let’s pack in the herbs and spices!
1 tsp dried chilli
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp smoked paprika
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp cumin
Make up your spice mix and place to one side.
1 onion, chopped
2 peppers, chopped
1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained
100 grams of cooked brown rice (cook this yourself first if needs be.)
Juice of half a lime
Half a tsp of dried chilli
1 tin of jack fruit in salted water. (Do not get the one in syrup.)
Pack of wholemeal tortillas
Dry fry the onion and peppers until they start to soften.
Add the sweetcorn and brown rice to the pan and mix in.
Turn heat to low and stir every couple of minutes.
Now it’s time for the jack fruit. I warn you if you haven’t used it before, it’s some weird stuff. Drain the can in a sieve. It should look like this:
Pull it apart into shreds and add to the pan. (This can take some time if you haven’t done it before.)
Add your spice bowl and mix in.
Keep the heat on low, stirring occasionally.
Now let’s make some awesome mashed avocado! Peel the avocado and mash with the chilli, lime and salt to taste.
Heat yourself a tortilla in the microwave or in the oven.
Mash some avocado onto your warm tortilla then place the filling along the middle. You may wish to add some sauce now too. I used Levi Root’s BBQ sauce.
Wrap into a burrito by folding both ends in. Then slice down the middle to make it more manageable to eat.
Eat that baby warm. I managed two before I was stuffed up to my eyeballs.
Variation: Don’t add the jack fruit until wrapping burrito. Make sure you give it some flavour though. 😉
Where do I get jack fruit?
You’ll often find jack fruit in Asian supermarkets and the world food isle of the bigger chain supermarkets, depending on where you live.
If there is anything that people don’t like talking about, of course I want to discuss it. I don’t think any subject should be hidden or casually swept under the carpet.
We need to understand why certain! subjects are still taboo and how we can work towards making the apparently awkward part of everyday conversation.
Whilst I was away at Vegan Camp, I surveyed the adults asking what they thought were some of the last taboo subjects. Here is what they came up with:
Sexual fetishes. Anything that isn’t considered “normal sex” by the majority of people, regardless of sexuality.
Periods and period blood.
Human overpopulation and how to deal with it.
Nakedness in general.
I spent two weeks talking about 4 out of the 5 things above without any negative consequences. When I talked about 1 of those things, people would get up and leave. It would generally make them feel uncomfortable. Guess which one it was.
Number 3. Human overpopulation and how to deal with it. It’s not just whilst on holiday with vegans. It’s all the time in everyday life.
I’m going to try and be as honest as possible without being offensive. So here goes;
The human population of Earth has gone from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 7.4 billion in 2016. That’s mainly due to advances in medicine, better living standards and more advanced ways of producing food.
I can hear the deniers now. They are sat there saying that 7.4 billion people can all fit in California. I don’t deny that at all. Listen up, I’ve researched this. If we got the entire human population of the world and dumped them into California, we wouldn’t be able to move. We couldn’t work, eat, play or sleep. We’d just have to stand there. So ultimately we’d die. Not really a great solution.
Ok so here’s the current situation in reality. 7.4 billion people spread around the world. Some of us live in luxury, but most of us live in abject poverty, war zones or on the brink of starvation. Most of us don’t have access to an adequate diet, medical care and every single day is a struggle just to survive.
Out of the 230,000 people that increase the human population every day (after deaths), how many of those do you think live in luxury and how many of those do you think struggle and live in misery?
I don’t like the idea of anyone being born to suffer, that’s why I’m vegan. I follow that principle for humans too.
Why are so many people suffering? War, pollution, climate change, governments feeding grain to animals instead of the local population and then exporting the meat, dairy and eggs to the West.
More people doesn’t help solve any of those problems. It only makes them worse. It doesn’t matter whether you live in luxury or not. Every added person on the planet will contribute to one of these issues in one way or another.
As a Westerner, I’d like to look at climate change and how we’re fuelling that by adding more people. After all, that effects the rest of the world and leads to war and food inequality.
Every new human needs shelter, food/water and energy at a bare minimum. Shelter requires land and resources. So we take land and resources from nature and incorporate it into a town or a city.
Then you need food. 95% of people will eat animal products, which is the most inefficient way of producing food. It uses more land and creates more pollution than any other food source. The 5% will probably eat plant based for a few years before moving onto animal products and 1% will remain vegan for life. Even a plant based diet uses massive amount of land that should be filled with forests and meadows. All food production leads to habitat destruction and therefore species extinction. Look at the decline of butterflies and hedgehogs in the UK over the last decade. It’s horrific!
We also need resources to power our lives. Water for us and our food, of which there is only a limited supply that is usable and we are polluting more everyday. Electricity which is produced by exploiting and polluting the environment in most cases. The more of us there are, the more we have to exploit the environment for power. What happens when we run out of fresh water or we run out of environment to exploit? We go to war for more. This is exactly how the war in Syria started. Don’t think it won’t happen here. It will.
I’ve never met another person who actually wants war, famine and suffering. So what are the solutions? Let’s put them in order of importance.
Do not have children.
Adopt a plant based diet.
Live with the environment in mind.
People never seem to have a problem with points 2 and 3. (Sometimes 2 if they aren’t vegan already.) If you mention to people that a lot of world’s problems could be eased if we decided not to have children, that lose their shit.
Over the last year, I’ve lost a good deal of people who I cared about because of my views on reproduction and how they relate to actually saving our species a lot of suffering. It’s something I’ve had to get used to, like with being vegan, once you know you cannot unknow the damage you do to the planet by having children. People don’t like it. Sometimes they even get violent.
If you are in a position to chose not to have children, you should. You should also support:
Education for girls and women to help them make informed decisions about reproduction.
Free contraception, abortion and sterilisation for anyone who wants it.
Fostering and adoption of children who are already here.
I don’t hate kids who are already here. I don’t really hate anyone. I just wish people would be more informed about those choices. If you chose to have children knowing the world they are going to inherit, that says more about you than it does me. I don’t want anyone to suffer, remember?
(Obviously I understand that it’s not possible for everyone not to have children due to lack of contraception, education and cultural restraints, hence points we should be supporting above.)
As a last point and something to think about going forward, which I’m sure will make me popular:
Why do we advocate spaying and neutering of non-humans to control their population, but when it comes to us we let our population run rampage over the planet regardless of the consequences? Isn’t that speciesism if you’re already vegan?
I love risotto and I love chorizo, but I’d honestly not thought of combining them until recently. I’m so glad I did because the flavour and texture of this dish is unrivalled.
1 pack of VBites chorizo style pieces
1 large onion
2 large cloves of garlic
Approx 300g of dry pearl barley
1 litre of vegetable stock
1 stalk of fresh rosemary
1 can of higher end chopped tomatoes
First up get a nice big pan on the hob, warming up. Soy based chorizo isn’t as fatty as it’s pig’s flesh alternative, but it still produces a small amount of oil when heated up. Pour the entire contents of your chorizo pack into the pan and allow to frazzle for about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and place to one side in a bowl.
Now the pan should have a thin coating of oily, spicy, paprika goodness. Chuck in your chopped onion and minced garlic. Allow them to brown a little before adding in the pearl barley. Stir well ensuring that the barley is well coated. Add in your chopped tomatoes. ( Look I don’t normally go in for high end products, but I would recommend a higher end tinned chopped tomatoes in this recipe, because they tend to use vine tomatoes and they give a more intense flavour.) Mix and then add all of the vegetable stock. Unlike arborio rice risotto you can chuck it all in at once, but you need to sir it often.
You may have to add extra water as the sauce thickens because the pearl barley takes about 30 minutes to cook.
When you’re happy that the barley is cooked and the sauce has thickened to your liking, add the chopped rosemary and chorizo. Turn off the heat and serve.