Violence and Greif

What is our human relationship to violence and on top of that, death and grief? Now that people are being vaccinated and things are opening up again, there is so much whiplash we are going to have to face. 

After over a year of a global pandemic that has killed far too many people, we still do not give time for grief. In addition to the pandemic, state-sanctioned violence against Black people and multiple mass shootings are not disappearing. We are staring at 3 major points of mass death in human history. How are these three major moments going to be faced? What are we doing?

Covid Vaccine And Transgender Interactions

He’s vaccinated, relieved, and simultaneously weary!!!!! Today I got my first covid vaccine and I have many thoughts!!! I feel very grateful for the life i get to live and the ability to safely get this vaccine. Let’s think about what this current moment will mean in the context of the future! Thank you to @wwhivdd for these helpful slides that show how easily history can repeat itself if we don’t slow down and look at the parallels behind the shame of illness, disability, racism, homophobia and transphobia. How is our next step in transition to the new world going to shape the very foundation of our humanity?

A very interesting interaction happened to me while getting my first shot today. My legal name and my real name are currently not the same thing (but hopefully soon as the process of changing my name and gender “legally” continues). I’ve been navigating this conundrum for a while now, even before starting HRT but my relationship to my legal name is changing in unexpected ways.

Before HRT, I had a disclaimer sentence I would hastily say to every bank teller or doctor or whatever legal interaction I had to work with just to move in and out of physical spaces. Considering I am a trans person medically transitioning, this happens frequently, probably more often than most cis non disabled people experience. This is still dizzying and strange concept to think about- “I am legally this person even though I socially haven’t been referred to as this person for almost a decade”

This is my disclaimer sentence that I have been using since I started calling my self Ryan: “My name is Ryan but my legal name is _____ but please don’t call me that, I just want to be called Ryan”. This usually was followed with clumsy and robotic sentences where we are both trying our best to work in a system that hasn’t been working for a long time so nothing is coming out right. This is how things used to go: whoever’s job it was to allow me access to my own stuff or my own wellness usually used to read me as a cis female (or a vaguely gay lady haha) they still would just call me by my legal name even after all that effort of my disclosure. There were rare moments where someone knew what I was actually saying and just called me Ryan and kept it simple as that-maybe they were also part of the family.

Now I pass as male

The way this goes now is-I try to avoid the question all together because now it’s more scary to explain that I medically transitioned for you to perceive me as who I am instead of them thinking “oh that’s a lady who THINKS she can be some other gender, but at least it’s only alchemy of her brain instead of alchemy of her body-she didn’t trick me, I knew what was going on biologically” (ew). But now I have this old document that I can’t change until a group of people in some office do 20 different things that approve of something I discovered about myself a while ago. Today I put down my name as Ryan Baker and I said I was Male on my lil covid card. Later when my mom was with me, she asked “wait, this is a legal card, shouldn’t you ask for a new one with your current legal info just in case”. She’s right, and because I know this experience well and she doesn’t yet, I told her “I know, I just have to do it in private and not in front of all these people”. There were just under 20 people in the Walgreens and it was a little chaotic in the first place-explaining to them what I needed in that moment would have opened the possibility for someone to catch me in the open without a safety net.

The nurse comes out of the room and says I can come in.

We sit down and she’s absolutely stellar at her job and I get a sense that she’s kind and not a bigot so I can be honest with her about what I need with out it compromising my safety or my dignity. I just tell her my spiel I mentioned but with less hesitancy and more of a cool air to myself. I walk around much lighter now.

She gets it.

And simply gives me an extra card with my legal name on it.

That easy.

She then pokes me with a needle I’m all too familiar with and I’m on my merry way to get a celebratory chocolate milk shake from Carl’s Jr. because that’s exactly what this moment called for.

I’m excited to step into the future. Let go of the things we have to let go of. Follow new rules and new expectations for the human experience. Will we be ready to take the lessons we have learned thus far in this pandemic, and apply them once we at the beginning of transitioning into the physical again? What has our screen time taught us? What are we ready to catch on the other side?

I’m just glad I got this milkshake and am on the way to be fully vaccinated for now.

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