So here’s a thing I don’t talk about often…


Somewhere in my teens I was told that if I continued to dress masculine it would make it impossible for me to find a partner. That I couldn’t be loved if I didn’t look like the gender I was assigned at birth. (This was LONG before talk of gender binary or the word “trans” entered my life on a daily basis. The late 90s, amirite?). And because I was told this by someone I loved and trusted, I believed them.

I spent the next 15 years of my life wearing makeup, obsessing about body hair, collecting dresses, and dressing to “flatter my body type” and “accentuate my curves.” Because this was how I could earn love.

Then RA set in; my hands were unable to grasp the tools for the job. I gave up makeup and shaving my legs. This was a struggle as I grappled with the thought that I would no longer be a viable partner to the person I love, because I was no longer as feminine as I was when we met. I was convinced my value and validity would decrease with my inability to perform “my gender.” It was a real, literal, drag.

Anyway, today I dressed as Dustin from Stranger Things for the celebration of Halloween in my office. I dressed like Dustin because when I saw him on the screen, I felt like I was looking at myself. I felt represented in media – regardless of gender.

And after the costume competition ended, and I removed the tooth-black and hair pins, I looked in the mirror and saw myself in the t-shirt and hat. Throughout the day, I repeatedly catch glimpses of myself in the mirror…. and I feel good. I feel like I look good. And my incredibly supportive office mates keep offering me comments like “I don’t know if you look really Dustin, or if Dustin is so you.” And I am practically moved to tears by the acceptance of me looking and feeling like myself in a t-shirt and hat.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t still feel feminine sometimes, today or in general. Heck, it doesn’t mean that this outfit (or any outfit of t-shirt, pants, hat) isn’t feminine.

What it does mean is I can’t let this feeling pass without documenting it.

I feel so incredibly me and so valid and so incredibly lovable.

February Links

Holy shit, it’s February already! How did that even happen? And why did it take me 5 days to figure it out? In any case, Happy Black History Month!

Welcome to my monthly roundup of links from my Gunter and Bean Facebook Page, which I use to share the news, links and articles that captivate me.

I often say the benefit of checking here is that I’ll have them sorted by topic. That said, I’m having a harder and harder time separating activism from everything else. Slowly it infiltrates every facet of my being. And I’m okay with that.

Regardles, I hope you enjoy, and I always welcome comments, questions and suggestions!



Continue reading “February Links”

Spanx but no spanx

This article, about a mom defending her daughter’s right to not wear Spanx under a prom dress she didn’t even want, passed through my facebook feed today.

I’m not impressed. I’m not saying mom’s heart isn’t in the right place. I totally agree that the sales person was out of line and absolutely deserved to be corrected. It’s the justification that followed that makes me want to claw my eyes out.

Girls of all ages, shapes and sizes are perfect because that is how God made them. […] My daughter is tall, she swims, runs, dances and does yoga. She’s fit. She’s beautiful.

First of all it assumes a common deity for all of us. Not a fan, but whatever. My real issue is that she chose to justify her daughters beauty because of fitness and the activities she participates in. If she wasn’t so fit, would mom still have picked this dress?

It’s true that “many girls suffer from poor self image and telling them they need something to make them perfect can be very damaging.” I think what mom failed to realize is that this includes fitness and health. It’s great to stand up for your daughter. To let her know you love her just how she is. But what if one day she is disabled somehow. Will you still find her beautiful? And what about people with chronic illnesses or different abilities that don’t allow them to maintain a rigid fitness schedule? Are they any less worthy? I don’t think so.

I recognize that this woman likely didn’t expect her post to go viral. But it did. And it’s for reasons like this that it’s so important that we think about the language we use.

Goals for 2016

I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. Aside from secretly resenting New Year’s because it totally overshadows my birthday, I’ve always thought it was silly to pick one time a year to better myself. However, I’m reaching that point (I think it’s called ‘your thirties’) where years don’t seem so long, and checking in with oneself on an annual basis seems like a reasonable time span. Or maybe I just miss having a job with an annual review.

In any case, my first goal of the year was to publish this very post about what I hope to accomplish in 2016. Instead of resolutions, it’s more of a bucket list. Some of these items are tasks, easy to check off the list. Others are things to work on, probably for the rest of my life. Either way, in 2016, I look forward to:

  1. Publishing my goals for the year.
  2. Taking my meds, as directed, all year!
  3. Getting my passport.
  4. Using my passport.
  5. Being mindful about the language I use. And I’m not talking swearing. I’m talking ableist, racist, transmisogynistic, classist and sexist language. I will strike “lame” and “crazy” from my vernacular. I will stop assuming pronouns and ask. I will listen when my friends call me in, or out, as the case may be.
  6. Taking the advice of Laura Hale and asking who is not there.
  7. Learning to call out my friends, gently and lovingly, when they need to check their privilege.
  8. Telling my friends I love them. All the damn time. Deal with it, friends.
  9. Advocating kindness. I’m not sure what this one means quite yet. The term first  came up for me in a conversation in which I was trying to explain how ridiculous it seems to me that the world is full of hate, because I don’t understand why people would chose to use their time finding things to hate when they could be finding things that make them feel good. I think this aligns with items 2-4. I think this happens by working hard to promote love, compassion and kindness and learning how to use it to heal hurt, pain and aggression in peoples hearts. I don’t know how to do this yet, but I’m going to try to figure it out.
  10. Being less bashful about posting my thoughts, opinions and ramblings. I’m gonna treat this shit like LiveJournal.


January Links

Dang. First time I’m late with the link round up. You’ll have to forgive me what with the holidays and new year and my birthday rolling around. For the uninitiated, this is my monthly roundup of links from my Gunter and Bean Facebook Page, (and sometimes my personal page) which I use to share the news, links and articles that captivate me.

I often say the benefit of checking here is that I’ll have them sorted by topic. That said, I’m having a harder and harder time separating activism from everything else. Slowly it infiltrates every facet of my being. And I’m okay with that.

Regardles, I hope you enjoy, and I always welcome comments, questions and suggestions!



Humor, Fun Stuff and Miscellaneous Reads:

kill me







When Your Violin is Supposed to Be a Cello

I first read this a few days ago, and posted it to my FB page, but I find it so moving that I didn’t want to wait for my link round up to share it here.

Let's Queer Things Up!

This article was originally published by Ravishly.

cello.They promised I would “grow into it.”

When I was small and new to this world, my parents placed a radio beside my crib.

“We used to play classical music for you,” they told me. “You loved Bach.” For years, I fell asleep to the sounds of 12 different violin concertos, the music bouncing off the walls and into my tiny ears.

My mother swears that this is why I took up violin.

My parents eagerly exposed me to any and every song with a violin solo. I went from Bach to Riverdance to Dixie Chicks, the music captivating me. By the time I was 12, I told my parents that I wanted to make beautiful music like the people on the CDs.

They made me promise that I wouldn’t quit after just a few weeks. I would’ve promised them the moon…

View original post 1,789 more words

December Links

December already, huh!? For the uninitiated, this is my monthly roundup of links from my Gunter and Bean Facebook Page, (and sometimes my personal page) which I use to share the news, links and articles that captivate me. The benefit of checking here is that I’ll have them sorted by topic. The downside is that you miss my commentary. Or maybe that’s a benefit too, I’m not sure.

I’m going to be honest… November was a rough month. There was a lot of terrorism all over the world, and I linked to a bunch of things about the assorted events. Seeing it all collected like this makes me wish I had seen more art. More positivity. I do try to focus on items that push people up instead of bring them down. But sometimes the world makes that hard.

Regardless, I hope you enjoy! I look forward to hearing your comments, questions, and suggestions for other things to read!





bonnie and neddy





Humor, Fun Stuff and Miscellaneous Reads:

Personal Projects:

Transgender Day of Rememberance 2015

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is a day in which we can remember and honor the people who have lost their lives for expressing their gender identity. For being themselves in the face of others’ judgement. To read more about it, go here:


I’m about to go on about a conversation I had the other day but before I do I want to mention that while trans-feminine people receive the brunt of the violence and are receiving most of the focus today, we should not forget our trans-masculine and non-binary folk who also suffer discrimination and violence.


I had a conversation the other day with a friend, and I brought up the topic of how I think it would be cool if we could just start calling transwomen ‘women’ because transwomen are women who identify as women and deserve to be treated like women.

She mentioned an article someone had shared with her about how transwomen don’t know what it’s truly like to be a woman. They have not experienced periods or had to worry about walking home late at night.

I stopped her. I said most trans children know at an early age. I said I haven’t had my period in years. I said trans women probably have to worry about walking late at night more than I do.

We continued the conversation, but I felt like I didn’t have the words then to really express my feelings on the subject. I am so much more eloquent in text, and have had days to think it all out. That said, a trans woman already said it so much better than I ever could, so I encourage you to read her piece: Still Think Trans Women Have Male Privilege? These 7 Points Prove They Don’t

I also got to read this beautiful piece this morning, published of all places on the Health at Every Size blog. The article, entitled the HAES® files. WARNING: This Post is High in Trans Fat (May Contain Nuts),  shares one woman’s tale as she navigated growing up in her male body.


Please take the time to honor those lost, today. This is not a “holiday for trans people.” This is a day of awareness for ALL people.

Daily Review Challenge, Days 11-19: TV, Podcasts, Music and More

My friend, the awesome Tristan Tarwater of Back That Elf Up, has suggested an alternative to NaNoWriMo for those of us that don’t participate. Her recommendation is, “Every day this month, write a review…” I haven’t really stayed on topic, but I have accepted this challenge.

Schmebs, I’ve really fallen behind. I intended to do this every day. Then I thought it was acceptable to do it FOR every day. Now I have over a weeks worth of reviews to write! The good news – I HAVE SO MUCH TO WRITE ABOUT!

Below the cut you will find reviews of the following: (TV) Gravity Falls, (TV) Steven Universe, (Podcasts) Monster Factory, (Music) Public Service Broadcasting – The Race for Space, (Misc) Chillin’ with a room full of ladies, (Podcasts) The Try Guys, (TV) America’s Next Top Model, (Music) Foster the People – Torches, and (Podcasts) Jordan Jesse Go!

Continue reading “Daily Review Challenge, Days 11-19: TV, Podcasts, Music and More”

More Thoughts on Healthcare

I heard about this article from entitled, These Women Were Fat-Shamed By Their Doctors—And It Almost Cost Them Their Lives, because The Militant Baker shared it on Facebook. Go ahead, give it a read. I’ll wait.

Welcome back.

Today I want to tell you that medical fat-shaming is a very real thing that happens to a lot of people every day. I know it for a fact, I’m one of those people. I’ve been “prescribed” weight loss for everything from asthma to hip pain to cramps to depression. In fact, it has been prescribed to me at every appointment I’ve had with every Primary Care Provider (PCP) I’ve had in the last twenty or so years (yes, they started young). Its the prescription I get JUST FOR SHOWING UP!

For a long time I bought in. I’ve done the diets and the exercise. I’ve had my own personal trainer and worked out 7 days a week. I’ve counted every calorie, and what type of calorie, and journaled it obsessively. I’ve lost 40 or more pounds, TWICE. I’ve lost 20 pound chunks A LOT of times. None of this has had much bearing on my actual lab results, yet even at 40 lbs lighter I get prescribed MORE weight loss. Sometimes I feel like my doctors won’t be satisfied until I disappear completely.

On the other side of that, it’s worth noting that I haven’t needed an inhaler since I quit smoking. My hip pain was lessened with treatment for RA. My cramps went away when I changed birth control. And my depression has improved since my therapist recommended Linda Bacon’s book, Health at Every Size, and I started to process all of the shame in my life. The shame does more damage than fat ever has.

I think the hardest part for me to digest (pun intended) is that a lot of the bias isn’t really based on fact so much as doctors hearing the same bullshit everyone else does and buying in. Okay, the hardest part for me to digest is that doctors are, in fact, fallible, and that I hadn’t realized this until I was 32. But being conscious of this bias allowed me to notice exactly how often I receive the “weight loss prescription,” which is to say: every appointment with my PCP and in backhanded notes in specialists’ summaries. I’ve also come to realize how dismissive it is. Making obesity the first diagnosis is lazy. It’s being bad at their job. So I don’t put up with it anymore.

I have health insurance. I have some knowledge under my belt. And I have just enough courage to advocate for myself. People (specifically WOMEN) have laid the groundwork for me so I may enter a health clinic with confidence and demand I be treated fairly. And I can happily report that I haven’t been met with much resistance*. However, I am lucky. Not everyone has these advantages, and it is with this in mind that I think it’s important to talk about. For everyone. Of any weight. Of any race. Of every gender. Learning the FACTS, having the conversations, and erasing the stigma is important. Do it for the fucking children.

*This is also irritating. Like – what, you were only going to treat me if I asked specifically to be treated like a thinner patient? Great.