Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Okay for real this time! I swear! Soon!

I have just endured three of the most grueling weeks of all my purple life, as the artist formerly known as O(+> might say.  But hopefully I have reached a plateau.

I recently quit one of my grueling jobs and have added hours to my other grueling job, with the grueling manager whose grueling, anxiety ridden demeanor is largely responsible for the grueling nature of the last three weeks I just mentioned.

I'm having trouble getting to the point here.   Starting next month, as in tomorrow, as in September, the month of my birth, I devote more energy to making regular posts here. By regular I mean at least two a month.  Hopefully more.  But considering I've had nothing to write except excuses the last two posts, I think two is a reasonable goal.

Speaking of September... I am one of the millions of people who happen to have been born on THAT day.  You know the one.  9/11. I don't mean in the metaphorical sense of being reborn, I mean literally that is the date of my birth.  So when I post on or after that day either rejoicing or sobbing, depending on how it went, I don't want to hear, oh NO what a monster how can she not respect what happened on THAT DAY.

That said, I can't believe it's coming up on 9 years now.  I can't believe how much has changed about my life since then, and how little the world has changed since then.  This will require deeper, less hectic reflection than I'm giving the topic right now.  I will come back to this.  Perhaps tomorrow.  Definitely soon.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

OMG Maybe Not!

Okay so I underestimated the time lag involved in doing interviews with very very VERY busy people who barely had time to talk to me in the first place, and then adding the corollary that I wouldn't post said interview without them signing off on the final product first.  I've been waiting for daaaaaaaaaays for that final sign off.  I don't think they are ducking me I just know that they are insanely busy.

So maybe I'll rethink that one rule.  Maybe I'll make a good faith effort to work as closely as possible with the subject whenever I can.  The times I can't, I will post it and if they later come to object to what was posted I'll handle that then.

At any rate, it's not as if I haven't been busy myself.  This was the work week from 7th Hell.  2 Jobs + 2 overlapping work schedules ( - ) 1 emergency sick day = CHAOS.

Stay tuned.  Things will sort out here eventually.  Jane said to the lone cricket napping in the corner.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saving Jane Laplain's.... Marriage

Mr. Laplain* is going to leave me.

He hasn't said this. He hasn't hinted at this.  He hasn't behaved like he doesn't love me anymore. But no man, no human being, can take as much rejection as I've been dishing out.

I am not a monster. I don't wish to reject him.  I am still in love with him like I've never loved anyone.  I hate it whenever he is out of my sight. But I have no way of explaining with my own voice that when I'm in one of my "seasons"... there is simply nothing  that can be done to "please me" nor to "comfort" me. 

I'm not just talking about physical intimacy. I'm talking about the fact that when I come home from work I am so overstimulated, so sensitized to having been around people I don't trust, talking to people I don't know, and pretending to be completely accessible and warm, all the while in extreme physical discomfort or pain, that I am drained of all capacity to speak when I get home.  That when I come home from work I come home in full body flashback to a time when I was forced to smile, and laugh, and be sociable with persons who had just finished paying me to reenact humiliating sex fantasies while in physical pain, or a person who I in no way wanted to have sex with but I needed the money and they wouldn't give me that money if they knew how much I hated being near them. And also I'm in physical pain.

This is why it is impossible to discuss this with Mr. Laplain.  What guy wants to hear that his wife* flashes back to prostitution and street harassment whenever she comes home to him?  How do you explain its not HIM it's just the fact that I've been subconsciously stimulated to that  memory for ten to twelve hours straight and home is the one place I can come to and feel like I don't have to talk to anybody or let anybody touch me or even look at me if I don't want them to.  And aftter ten to twelve hours of my body being forced to interact with strangers against my will, I just don't have anymore left for the one person who needs my time and attention most?

That sounds like bullshit if you don't know what living with PTSD is like. Or living with chronic pain. I had to go back and add pain, because I keep forgetting just how much my chronic pain issues take from me.  I've lived with them so long I don't notice how it affects me anymore.  But there is the psychic trauma too.

How do I explain that something so simple as asking me, in all tenderness, "can I have a kiss?"  that my reptilian brain cannot distinguish that from "stop what you are doing right now and show me physical intimacy!" 

How do I explain that the real reason I prefer sleeping on the futon isn't just because of back pain, but because out there I get to fantasize somebody is sleeping right next to me, keeping me safe from attackers in the night. And that this someone is a person who has no capability of reaching over and touching me in a sexual way while I'm sleeping?

I know this is not "rational." That is the point.  I know my husband* is not a john, not an assailant, not a stranger. 

The thing is I think I know the solution, or at least part of, but I have no idea how to explain any of this without explaining all of the above first, which I have no idea how to do without hurting him.  And how do I explain that sometimes the very act of speaking or being looked at feels like a violation?  How do you explain this to someone who adores you and loves talking to you and looking at you? How how how???

You bet I feel like a monster.  You're damn right I feel ridiculous, selfish, melodramatic, stupid.  I don't know what to do.

I think I might I have a solution but I can't even adequately explain myself TO myself yet.  I just don't know.  I don't know I don't know. I just wish he would stop ASKING me to show him affection. I mean literally asking me. the question.. Can I have a hug?  Can I have a kiss? Will you come lay down and cuddle with me?

I think the solution may be as simple as changing the way he asks the question.  The way he "asks" me is invariably asking me to do something for him, to him, with him, and right then and there.  It puts me in the position of having to grant consent for what should be innocuous, but in my perpetually heightened state of low-grade panic,  feels like yet another person asking me to act or speak or perform against my will. 

If he were to say "Can I kiss you?" That would be an entirely different question. That would be him asking me for access to my physical person, not access to my AFFECTION.

OMFG I think I just figured it out!! I really do!!  That IS a huge part of the problem!! 

I grew up experiencing my entire life, espcially my body as not my own to control, or even inahbit as I saw fit.  I became accustomed to people being able to demand I say or do things that were the exact opposite of what I wanted to do not only just to please them, but to avoid a BEATING.  I think every single trans-child feels this way.  Your whole identity, down to your very body, is  experienced as something ALIEN to you, something that feels wrong, but not just wrong, scarringly deeply wrong wrong wrong.  But you have no choice. You MUST comply with the expectations of others. You MUST conform to their perception of you right down to performing the precise physical movements they demand you perform and avoiding the precise physical movements they have forbidden you to perform.  If you don't, you WILL be subject to reprimand, humiliation, beatings, etc.  Universally! No matter where you go what you do the consequences for failure are the same!    You learn to live in a constant state of fear of fucking up and bringiing the wrath of family and strangers alike down on your head.  And if you do choose to drop the act, to move your own damn body as you fucking PLEASE, you brace yourself for the shouting and abuse, and physical attacks that NEVER CEASE.

 It's a different sort of violation than when somebody initiates violence against you out of the blue.   Its not only the person MAKING you do this thing that you don't want to do,  but that person asking YOU to do it for them,   because they know you aren't in any position to deny their request and they'd rather not have to exert their own energy while violating you.  This is why some trans children do choose the path of open defiance rather than conformity. You figure if they are going to punish me for doing what I know I must, at least they have to disrupt their own lives to do it.  At least they dont get to walk thru life pretending that they arent really hurting me.

And this is also how prostitution can be a completely traumatizing experience even if said prostitute is working of her own free will.  When you NEED the money, when saying "NO I don't want to" means you don't get rent paid or you don't eat, it's not really free will its the will to survive.   When all that's standing between you and homelessness is your disgust at showing affection to somebody who under normal circumstances you'd never dream of letting touch you, well you learn to put personal disgust aside in favor of not starving or losing that roof over your head. 

Do this long enough and it leaves a deep scar where your ability to connect physically with another human being of your own free will should be. 

I will need to tease these issues out more.  I'm not quite there but I'm on to something.    Going back to my possible solution.  I really think shifting language might help.  Maybe.  I hate being asked "Can I get a kiss??"  When I'm in a "mood" it sounds no different than "Can I get a blowjob?" UGH UGH UGH.  I know that's not fair to Mr. Laplain or to anyone who wants something so simple... but I cannot help this and I'm ashamed of it... everything that comes to me lately gets processed from this damaged space.

The thing is I would gladly do all of these things of my own free will if he would just let me settle down. If he could let me feel safe, let me begin to distinguish "out there" from "right here"  and "back then" from "right now."  Every time I leave the house it's the same old dilemma.  I need fucking time. I need space. I need to come back to the world.  And I don't need to be rushed.

Can I kiss you, makes all the difference.   Can I do this thing I want to do to you? What a concept!  Nobody ever takes responsibility for what they are asking of me.  "Will you stop doing whatever youre doing right now and pay me attention instead?  But do it with a smile, and act like it was your idea, okay?"  That's what I hear.    "Can I have your permission to touch you in this way? " THAT Takes responsibility for having the thought in the first place and presents it to me as an option. Asking permission, rather than asking for affection or a service!  It is not asking me to perform emotion I may or may not feel at the moment on top of asking me to perform the physical act itself.  It is a simple yes or no question.

Think about it.   "Can I have a kiss?"  No.   "Why don't you want to give me a kiss?  Don't you love me?"

"Can I kiss you?"  No.  "Oh, you don't want to be kissed right now?" No. "Okay, maybe later."

Okay maybe I'm only fantasizing that this would be any simpler for us.  I won't know until we try.  Now, how to explain any of this without actually having to have a conversation about it and feel even more exposed and violated by having to explain it to another person face to face??   Hopefully he'll happen upon this entry I put up on the internet like a huge fucking coward.  Which I doubt because he already doesn't read this blog.

Back to the futon for me.


*Mr. Laplain, NOT his real name either, and I are not yet married. We are engaged.  Due to the many intimacy issues I've been displaying in recent months, the setting of a final wedding date has been postponed indefinitely.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Setting Up Boundaries

Now that I'm sure what I intend to use this blog space for, I should make the rules and gameplan clear.  Mostly for my own peace of mind, its not like anybody even knows this blog exists yet.  But  for any new readers who might wander in (it could happen!), here ya go.


I will not tolerate trolls. Not even a little bit. Trolling to me means making threats, hurling epithets, derail and spamming directed at me or anyone else who may comment here.

I'm not saying I have to like or agree with your comment before I'll allow it. I am not looking for praise or for flattery or a fanbase. My comment posting criteria are completely subjective, arbitrary and UP TO ME. Deal with it.

There is a reason this blog is public and not private. The idea that somebody just may find value in what I'm writing. If I were to keep all this for my eyes only, I'd never do it; I already know this shit. But keeping myself honest by addressing the public, I just might gain a little more insight into myself. And I might do somebody else some good too. Maybe. Maybe not. We shall see.

To sum up. Comment all you like. I make no promises any of it will be posted or that I will even acknowledge you exist, even if you say the nicest thing ever. But if you find yourself inclined to comment, please do it from an HONEST, rather than a cynical place. I'll do my best to honor those kinds of comments in a timely fashion.


This blog is going to be TRIGGER CITY for a lot of people who struggle with Survivor issues. You need to know this. At times I will go into graphic detail about what I've been thru, or what I'm feeling. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. I have lived thru some traumatic shit. Expect to find some of that described here. Especially be warned if, like me, you suffer from PTSD and are sensitive to discussions of Rape, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Stalking, Police Harassment, and Public Harassment. I cannot express this enough... proceed with caution here.

I am not saying every single post is going to be about these topics. But they will come up whenever they come up and I can't afford to sugarcoat things. Just sayin.


This won't make much sense to readers just yet as I haven't posted any interviews. I'm still working on several simultaneously and once they are done you'll see what I mean. More often than not, these will be of people I specifically asked to let me interview them, because I admire their anti-oppression work in general or because something they've done in their lives has affected me in a deeply personal way.

My interview limits are the following:

  • I respect the privacy and boundaries of all subjects. Some people do not wish to use their offline, real life identities. I will not post any identifying information without permission.

  • I will not post the content of any pre or post interview discussion with a subject without permission.

  • I will not post quotes from any discussion I've had with any interviewee that isn't already public record. If we IM'd or emailed you will not find that content on this blog unless you told me I could put it there. (This does not include trolls, I will put your shit on blast).

  • I will not post an interview until the interviewee has seen the final script and okayed it.

  • I will not change the content of any interview once posted, save for grammatical errors or typos.

  • If a subject who was once interviewed wishes that interview to be removed, I will take it down. (However, I cannot take responsibility for any other places besides this blog the text ends up once I've posted it).

Back to Trolling.
I don't think you heard me so let me make this clear.


IF you troll here, I WILL report, and possibly post your full contact info you used to comment. This includes your IP address, username, email and location sweetie.

And if you're worried that something you want to say here might be on the trollish side, just save yourself the trouble and don't bother.

Okay I think that's enough law laying for now. SOUNDS LIKE SO MUCH FUN RIGHT??

*cue crickets*

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Following up....

The debacle got even worse after I had posted about my exchange with the WOC commenter whose comments I had misinterpreted. But then it finally stopped.

She has responded with another sincere apology. It meant alot to me so I'll post it here:


I can't see how else to clarify what I have said, in my own style without hurting you.

For me,that is unacceptable.
Please come back and provide the depth you have been providing of your viewpoint and your angle. IT IS IMPORTANT

I will give you the space you need and say no more.

My need to clarify an issue shouldn't come at your expense, nor at the expense of anyone reading.

It pains me to see how my comment is being used and viewed and the extrapolations which are made from it, but them there are the breaks, once its out there, it is out there.

I share your pain and frustration, I would offer my email in order to completely and fully apologise, however I am not sure this is appropriate thing to do and I am unsure of how to go about it.

i noticed you left your email address, but since our discourse here has been quite volatile and it seems this subject has affected both of our sensibilities, I feel any correspondence from me, without your express permission to use your email address would be inappropriate and possibly just plain wrong, (no matter what the content)

If my apology via this medium will suffice, then please, I beg of you..
receive it from the whence it came..
from the depths of my soul and from the inner most portions of my heart.

I cannot apologise enough.
I know this does not erase the harm that has taken place, or the bitter feelings or disappointment.

I have learnt a lot from this, my hurt, my experience, my anger, irritation, my passion and my brevity for expression does not happen in a vacuum.

You, your comments, your emotions, your experience, your hurt, your anger and your passion reside right along side me.

Jane Laplain

I unreservedly apologise to you.


I needed that. THANK YOU. I offered my email but haven't heard from her. I don't really need to as everything has been said already So I guess it was worth the emotional toil of that thread after all.

Being able to tease out my own issues like this with people, resolve conflicts both internal and interpersonal, that's exactly why I'm doing this blog. I wasnt being glib when I titled this blog Saving Jane Laplain.

About that. It IS worth disclosing that Jane isn't my actual name, just the one I use online. I cannot use my real name without running the risk of being outed and fired from both my jobs. Not to mention risk attracting all kinds of offline stalker attention for things I said online (Been there, done that. Not doin it again). I don't necessarily believe getting fired is a foregone conclusion of my being outed, but that's a risk i'm not willing to take in this economy. After a full year of being unemployed after getting laid off in 2008 and nearly losing my apartment, I'm just not going to take unnecessary risks.

This blog is a necessary risk. I am all kinds of shut down. I have no unsafe place to unpack my issues one by one without leaving me exposed to further trauma from one corner or another. Rape surivor groups are Cis oriented. Period. That's crazy considering the astronomical rates at which transpeople experience rape across the globe. But yeah. You cannot feel safe outing yourself as a transwoman in a Survivors support group. I went to a couple of those and mentioning my transness wasnt even remotely an option. I spoke in generalities and mostly listened and affirmed and hugged and cried and that was important to do. But it was superficial help at best, at least for me.

Anti-racist groups are overwhelmingly cis as well, even the intersectional ones and the queer affirming ones. They do try and work on that, but there is only so much they can do from within their cis privilege, especially when the focus is racism and its effects on people of color, who are, like most people on the planet, predominantly cis.

Trans and Queer support groups are geared heavily towards the specific needs of White trans and queer folks. And resources for trans women are dominated by White, later transitioning transwomen who tend to be struggling with their specific challenges. such as how to integreate their lived histories as White Men into their current lives as White Women along with the psychic trauma of "plummeting" into 2nd class citizenship as trans. Its a unique experience and I totally validate and respect that. But I can't relate.

In an earlier entry I asked "Whatever happened to the Classics?" I pointed out that transwomen of color tend to start early like I did and even earlier and we just seem to die or disappear at some point. I know more than a few younger transwomen of color, but I personally know only TWO other POC transwomen MY age who transitioned in their teens AND are still around/alive.

Add to this my growing need to acknowledge my disability issues, which I still struggle to understand really are disabilities. I've had VERY poor eyesight my whole life but have managed more or less. In recent years it's gotten worse and I've been without the insurance to keep up with eye care. Also add to this my struggle with PTSD, my tendency to "go recluse" (wreck loose?) on folks, and trying to work for a living withdebilitating physical pain caused by botched genital surgery I underwent when I was 21, and continued recovery from a stroke I suffered at 29. Long, cripplingly painful stories both of those, and ones I'm not anywhere near ready to expose here in full detail. But at some point I have to DEAL with all of the above.

So yeah I'm right back to where I started. Figuring out what I'm doing here... Why do I want to do this? Is this blog even necessary? What am I getting myself into?

I'd better go see why Mr. Laplain hasn't woken up yet. He's usually up and in my face as soon as the sun starts streaming in, and that was well over an hour ago.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Racism IS Rape: A Mantra

Okay so I have to take a break from Stuff White People Do. I credit that blog with helping me begin to unpack a whole world of trauma and internalized racism that I had left untouched for most of my life. I still value that forum. But it's time to take a break from it as soon as I see people elevating the metaphorical Rape of Black people by Racism over the feelings of actual POC survivors of Rape and Assault, in this case a person (me) who was in fact targeted for Rape and Assault precisely because I was POC.

I write this on the heels of a very ugly argument/debate/debacle about how it's important not to conflate the clueless things likely to be said by White people on SWPD with Rape (my argument)... against OMG How dare you invalidate another WOC's experience of Racism as Rape?? (practically everybody else's comment to me or about what I said).

I confess I behaved hurtfully when I flipped the fuck out on said WOC, saying to her if she honestly feels that violated by the comments at SWPD why the hell does she even go there? I said this out of anger, but also under the impression that she indeed was comparing WP's participaton on that site with Rape. She later clarified that that was NOT what she meant at all, that she meant Racism itself is Rape, not the comments. I get that now. But she clarified this only after instructing me, rather dismissively, to re-read her post, saying she will never apologize for saying that and that I'm attacking her for feeling what she feels and how dare I presume she's never been raped. (I don't recall presuming that last one, but okay).

I'll post her initial comment, which she made in response to a White commenter's troubling statement about zir intent in participating on the blog. Emphasis and parentheses are mine:

"I'd rather inadvertently hurt and offend while going in the right direction than hurt and offend while not doing anything at all." <-- [White Person at SWPD] I wonder how you would feel if a man said..
I'd rather inadvertently rape and hit a woman whilst learning about sexism and misogyny than rape and hit a woman whilst not learning about them at all.

This is why many black people have faced the fact that many white people do not see us as human beings with feelings & emotions ...

You actually do not care about hurting us, your concern even when trying to be anti racist is still ALL about you

The thing is... I agree with her overall premise. Racism IS Rape in many ways. And too many WP claim to be trying to unlearn their racism, but really are just repeating a dehumanizing pattern of racial abuse.

And now that you bring up Rape, thanks, its also worth emphasizing that Racism often means getting Raped, not just figuratively but LITERALLY when you're POC.

I disagreed with the figurative use of Rape here due to the larger context of the conversation about WP commenting on SWPD. In that context her comment took on a whole other meaning that was frankly triggering for me. I took it to mean that she felt that any comments by WP that were insensitive might be considered the equivalent of rape (the blog comments being the potential source of "hurt" and "offense" mentioned by the WP commenter). And thus, that I, also a POC, might experience White commenters as potential rapists too.

To date nobody has bothered to tell me WHY it was unreasonable for me to assume that her sudden introduction of a Rape Analogy did apply to the larger conversation about what WP were doing to POC's on the blog.

I don't know why I'm surprised tho. In this society, the feelings of actual victims of Rape and Violence are rarely prioritized over the feelings of those who find Rape and Violence useful as "powerful" and "enlightening" metaphors. The Kerry Stewart Rape Analogy comes to mind.

Funny but on Renee's blog comments I actually sympathized with how Kerry Stewart came to make the analogy. But I still found it problematic and I can totally understand WHY so many people flipped out on her and demanded she apologize.

Even in balls-to the-wall discussion of Racism and its brutal realities for People of Color, it is far easier for people to talk about things that are LIKE Rape, than it is to talk about the actual Rape and Racialized/sexualized Violence marginalized bodies face everyday.

Reading the WOC's previous comment in isolation, one wouldn't necessarily take umbrage with the rape comparison. But this comment didn't happen in isolation. I explained to this WOC in painstaking detail what I had taken from her comment in context, why I had taken it that way, and its implications for me as a POC survivor, and, by extension, for other readers who may have taken it the same way and might also be survivors.

A few days and one or two White People dogpiling on to cause drama and derail later, suddenly my point about being unnecessarily triggered by her analogy has been lost altogether.

Is asking people to be careful with suddenly introducing rape analogies into a conversation completely unreasonable?

Since nobody ever bothered to explain WHY my reading the comment as applicable to what was actually happening on that blog was an insane thing to do, I don't know WHAT to take away from this experience. Other than "Thou shalt not harsh the righteous anger of thy fellow POC's with criticism of any kind!

All the same the Racism AS Rape thesis has its merits. I can see clear examples of that in my own experiences with racialized gender violence. To wit here is just ONE example from my own life. TRIGGER WARNING:

At 18 years old, and about a little over a year into hormonal transition, I was pulled over by a White Police officer after having gotten lost in a semi-rural area of my home state. This is a nightmare for EVERY trans person in early transition. Especially for a BLACK transperson who is legally between genders. The officer said he had stopped me for two reasons. 1) He wanted to see "What kind of Nigger that was. Was that a man or a woman??" and 2) He wanted to find out "what a nigger was doing driving a mercedes around HERE." Here being the run down, all-white town he'd stopped me in.

He made me exit the car and show my ID. Either intrigued or dissatisfied with the Sex: M designation on my license, he made me lean over the hood of my car and spread my legs while he proceeded to SLOWLY frisk me, paying special attention to my breasts and crotch. All the while he grinded his pelvis into my ass in an unmistakebly sexual way, while saying "I'm not gonna hurt you, princess." Then he let me go with a "warning"...

Now was that Racism? Did that experience approach being Raped? Um... DUh.

So is it any wonder why I might balk at making unsupported comparisons to THAT kind of violation and worse?

Of course this was an example I might have used in the conversation to illustrate the connection between Rape and Racism and why I don't dig it as a metaphor. I don't mind discussing certain incidents of violence I've experienced (some I definitely do). As long as I feel safe and in control of it in conversation with my audience, I'm good. But in the context of the SWPD forum, and its traditional hostility to intersectionality of any kind, it is unsafe for me to bring shit like this up over there. I'm vulnerable as a POC to begin with, and I'm even more unsafe as a transperson commenting at a cis-centered blog. The effect has been that I can rarely explain the full impact of racism in my life because I'm forced to censor myself to race-only oppressions and traumas. Even when I experience Racism simultaneously with other forms of oppressive violence. Such as getting pulled over for DWB by a white cop and then his fondling and dryhumping me over the hood of my own car.

So it's time to take a break because apparently its HIGH STAKES over at SWPD and my objection to certain discourse will be perceived as nothing but cynical debate and derail.

Perhaps I'm just one of those hypersensitive POC's we all hear about. The kind who take everything in the worst possible way and makes it all about them, woe is me.


EDITORS NOTE: Someone finally did address my reading of the conversational context as incorrect. And she was genuinely respectful about it too! I appreciate her taking the time. Not sure I agree with her yet, as I'd need to re-read the whole thread, and at this point I'm tired and inclined to just let it go. But it was nice to finally be heard and addressed directly.