Blake Brockington, we speak your name. Thank you for all you’ve done for our community. I wish with everything that you were alive. I’ve cried tears and I’m sure I’ll cry more. Rest In Peace young one. Love, Forever.
Love is Love.
Hate is Hate.
Friendship is Friendship.
Blood is Blood.
Tonight, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and read a status from my cousin that blindside me.
The status: “Transexual shit is outta hand…. if I see any of you niggas thats my peoples wearing girl clothes…. no fakin… ima shoot yo asz.”
“Why? Why the hate? Seriously cousin, my life is populated with transfolk who are my friends and who I love in solidarity for our shared experience in this world of ignorance, violence, discrimination, dehumanization. Too many of my people are killed to let this status slide. If you can’t be an ally, please don’t perpetrate violence against us. Maybe you can just say you don’t want us to be part of your life. You can’t be a friend to one of your people if they are wearing girls clothes. No need to shoot them, possibly ending a life when life is so fucking challenging as is.
My mom hasn’t spoken to me in over 4 years. If I’m at my Aunt’s house she’ll honk the car horn for my Aunt to come out. She hasn’t come to Thanksgiving in 3 years. My cousins miss her. She’s missing out on all the babies growing up. When my grandmother died she had the family come over to her place instead of my Aunt’s house because I was staying with my Aunt and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with me. It makes me sad but this is how it is. I’m alive only because I transitioned. That’s real. I’m only here because I took steps to make a life for myself that I can live. And I can live with it. And my life is precious. I wouldn’t want someone to kill me because I am who I am.
One other thing, I have one other cousin who this past summer called me “It” repeatedly and said “He ought to beat that thing’s (me) ass. My Aunt and my cousin stepped in and my cousin who stepped in got hurt. The cousin who doesn’t see me as a person anymore is not welcome in my Aunt’s house if he only has words/threats of violence towards me. My point is, I’m your family. Any of your people/niggaz who are transsexual/transgender/cross dressers are people with people who love them. Our lives are valuable and we are here for a reason. If you can’t show compassion, just please don’t harm us.”
I feel upset. Raw. Tense. Angry. Sad. Frustrated. Strong.
I wish I could’ve been more eloquent? in my response but it is what it is. My emotions are all over the place and it’s 2 in the morning. I haven’t been sleeping well the last couple days. School stress. I haven’t done any homework this week so far and have finished very little reading. I have until Sunday so it’ll be okay. I’ll get what I need to do done. I’m concerned about my relationship and about money. But there are many positive things happening too. I am surrounded by family that loves me. My Aunt, Uncle, and cousin are people who I spend most of my time with. I am dancing with them, cooking with them, watching movies and tv shows. They bring goodness to my life and I am grateful for them. I get payed tomorrow! Woot!I go back to work next week! I’ll be back in my place this weekend. Home sweet home. I actually have my own space. I am grateful for that.
I don’t really know what to do when confronted with blatant hate and transphobia. Especially when it’s from family members. I want to say that my cousin is not a bad person. So I’ll say it. He is not a bad person at all. He is tenderhearted. He’s a father to a kid who isn’t his biological kid and he is a father to his daughters who he loves and takes care of. He’s an artist and entrepreneur. A guy who loves his mom so much. I’m glad to know him. I love him. I just couldn’t let his status slide. I had to say something. (In the past I’ve had to delete another cousin from my Facebook. That was years ago, during the first year of my transition and she was really disrespect to me). I don’t think I’ll be deleting him. Two of my other cousins liked his status. That makes me sad too. But I’ve done what I could. I’ve said what I needed to say and I feel good about that. I feel a lot of things (so much) and surprisingly one of the things I feel is strong. Justified. Loving. I love myself and I love that I found the courage to transition. And I love all the folks who are non-traditional in their experiences, and with their gender presentation(s) and expression(s).
I’m not particularly active in the Trans community here in San Diego. I was more active early on in transition but I knew and told my friends that one day I wouldn’t be around as much. My life isn’t all about being trans. My main identity right now is student. My other primary identities/realities are friend and family member. The way I show my solidarity with the Trans community is simple. My advocacy is simple (not easy) and doable for me. I’m out in my day to day life. I’m an ally to myself and others. If transphobic stuff is said around me I speak up. I do panels at my school and other local Universities, such as UCSD and SDSU. I will out myself when I feel it is necessary. It is important to me for people to know that they do know someone who is trans. We’re not an abstract. I am a living, breathing human being, a child of love and light, with dreams, desires, and issues that go along with being alive on this planet at this time. All I’m saying is that I want people to know that we’re people too. We have feelings and we have a right to live our lives without the threat and reality of the violence and hatred that plagues our community.
I was just looking at how many blog posts I’ve published in 2013. 13! That’s wild. Especially since I feel like I’ve gone through so much in the past 6-7 months. But I won’t go back so far. I’ll just talk about what’s been going on recently.
I’ve been staying at my Aunt and Uncle’s house since July 5th. It’s been good for the most part. My cousin M. and I have been marathoning Breaking Bad. He wanted to try to get through the first part of Season 5 before he attended the panel for Breaking Bad at Comic Con this past weekend. We didn’t make it 😦 We’re a few episodes into Season 4. To be honest I would’ve stopped watching around Season 2 but it’s a cool little bonding thing we got going on. Last Wednesday (July 17th) we were watching Breaking Bad and my Aunt came in the room to give us a heads up that my little cousin D.(age 8) had invited all the kids from across the street to go swimming without asking permission. My Aunt let them because she is a nice person and it’s really hard for her to say no! But I know this stresses her out because she and my Uncle told me that the same thing happened for the fourth of July, except instead of D. inviting all the kids over, his dad, H. who is my 1st cousin, invited the whole family over. They have a huge family. They all live in a 7 bedroom house. It was chaos when they came over and it ruined the holiday for my Aunt and Uncle. They had planned on it being just them, D. and two of his friends, and H. and his girlfriend. That’s 7 people. Instead it ended up being over 20 people. My family usually eats around 1p for all major holidays. They didn’t eat until after 6. The people from across the street said they were bringing food over but they bought uncooked food. According to my Aunt and Uncle it was a very stressful and frustrating day. They told me that they needed to talk to H. about that and about bringing different women over whenever he felt like it. My Aunt and Uncle are old school. If you’re not married you’re not allowed to sleep together in their house. H. breaks that rule and is just an inconsiderate person in general. He plays loud music, he doesn’t clean up after himself, and I’ve never seen him make any kind of meal for his son. H. uses the house like a hotel. He works in Las Vegas and has many women and is currently dating one of D.’s friend’s mom who lives in the house across the street. Even though my Aunt and Uncle have a problem with him they haven’t talked to him yet because he has such irregualr hours and he’s in and out and my Aunt does not like confrontation.
Okay. Back to last Wednesday. My Aunt tells us all the kids from across the street are over. They’re in the backyard getting ready to get in the pool. M. and I are watching Breaking Bad and we’re all packed up to go to San Diego. We’re just waiting for his girlfriend, Y. They are going for Comic Con and I am going to visit my girlfriend, A. We get up and go out to the living room kitchen area to see how many kids there are. I count 10 kids! We don’t have enough food in the house to feed 10 kids. Like we don’t have enough for a snack or anything. My Aunt was planning on going to the store later. So we were talking about that and M.I.A. suggested we order a pizza but it wouldn’t be enough and my Aunt was like, well maybe I’ll just send them home. I can hear the stress in her voice and she’s looking in the refrigerator and cabinets. We have lunch meat but no bread. We have one big can of beans. She says to me, well maybe you can help me get something together for them. At this point I am mad but I don’t say anything. M. and I had plans and it was not to deal with a bunch of little kids and I thought it was unfair but I don’t say that. I say, but what are we going to feed them? We don’t have enough…And then all of the sudden, my cousin H. who was sitting on the couch in the living room jumps up real quick and comes running up to me and gets in my face and says, what’s it to you? Do you by the food in this house? He just starts going off on me. I tell him to get out of my face. He says he’s sick of me trying to run things around here (this is what he does!). At this point, I’m saying get out of my face, why are you in my face? and then my cousin M. and my Aunt get between us. H. is yelling, what are you even doing here? You should be at your mom’s house. You should be working things out with your parents. What are you doing here? You’re only here because my mom is nice. I say, I haven’t talked to my parents in like 3 years, what’s wrong with you? My cousin M. manages to get me out of the room but I go back in because H. is still talking a lot of mess. I go back in and I’m like you stress your mom out. You always do. He says that his mom can tell him if that’s how she feels. He yells at her, asking if she’s afraid of him? And he’s steady trying to get at me. He says I should beat you down whatever you are and then he starts misgendering me. Using the wrong pronouns. While he’s trying to get at me, I’m not backing down, and my cousin M. and my Aunt are between us. H. pushes M. and M. bumps the water cooler and breaks it. Water’s all over the floor and he hits the ground hard. My Aunt is yelling for us to stop. Things sort of cool down. M. and I and my Aunt go to the garage to get rags and a mop to dry the floor. When I start to clean up, H. gets the mop from my Aunt and tells me to just get out of here. I say excuse me and go back to the room I’m staying in while he’s steady talking shit.
My cousin M. has hurt his side. He’s so mad that when he goes to his bedroom he punches his door leaving it splintered and dented. H. is still talking mess, saying he should come in the room and “beat that thing down”. He wants to beat me down? He’s so much bigger than me. I’m like 5′ tall and he’s like at least a foot taller than me and has a lot more muscles. Plus, I didn’t do anything to him. My Aunt is trying to calm him down. My cousin M. calls my Uncle at his job and tells him he needs to get home. H. is saying to my Aunt, I’m your first born. I was here first. We took ‘her’ (meaning me) in when ‘she’ was a little baby. We took ‘her’ in when ‘her’ mom killed ‘her’ dad and ‘she’ had no other place to go. What is ‘she’ doing here? Now, in my mind I’m thinking whoa, he’s like emotionally still 8 years old. He’s talking about stuff that happened 35 years ago!! He’s also telling my Aunt how I can get away with anything but when he was little he lost his glasses she beat him. “Remember ma, you tore my ass up and I knew where those glasses were”. So yeh, H. has issues. My cousin M. comes out of his room to tell H. to stop yelling at his mom. H. says, this is my mother. I was here before all of you. It was just me and her. In my mind, I’m thinking how ridiculous he sounds. How horrible this is.
All the kids from across the street go home and my little cousin D. is crying his eyes out. He thinks it’s all his fault because he invited the kids over without asking. Of course it isn’t. His dad is just a giant nut ball. M. tells me H. is telling D. awful things about me. I can’t do anything about that. I didn’t want to go in there to defend myself. I’m around D. more than his dad has been recently and I didn’t want H. to say to me that I couldn’t talk to his son anymore, though I think he may have told D. to stay away from me 😦
Meanwhile, M. and I are in the TV room together, trying to wait for my Uncle to make it home but we give up and M.’s girlfriend, Y. comes to pick us up for a little while. I’m super mad. She’s mad too. She said if she’d been there she’d have called the police. The reason why we didn’t is because things happened so fast and we didn’t want to upset D. or my Aunt anymore than they already were. When we got back to the house, my Uncle was there (I sent him an email from my phone to let him know what happened because I didn’t think my Aunt would say all that had happened) and the kids were back in the backyard swimming. M. and I grabbed our stuff and packed up the car and left. We didn’t even want to use the bathroom at the house. We went to the bathroom at the gas station.
I’ve been really upset. My Aunt said that we were going to have a family meeting so that we would all learn to communicate respectfully. I already know how. He’s the one who resorted to physical violence, threats, and name calling. When I got to San Diego that night I was still really upset. My skin was warm to the touch for two days after the event. I broke out in a rash. I had/have all this unexpressed anger. On Friday, in the midst of a separate family drama involving my parents and my nephew’s mom, my Aunt and I were able to talk about what happened with H. I told her that I didn’t know how scared I was but I was really angry and that I didn’t want to spend the night at her house without us all talking first. I told her I wasn’t coming back with M. and that I would take the train back to their place as soon as she gave me a date and time for the meeting. I don’t feel comfortable staying there. Though she stepped between us she didn’t tell him off or tell him that his words and behaviour towards me wouldn’t be tolerated. I told her I felt like I needed to defend myself but I don’t know what to do. But what I can do is not put myself in a situation that’s not good for me. The fact that he called me a thing and threatened to beat me down is a big concern for me. If someone calls another person a thing and thinks of them as a thing, then they don’t see them as a human being and it’s easier to perpetrate violence against them. I think besides his jealousy of me, he’s also really transphobic. I don’t see how that’s going to change but when we have the meeting I’ll of course tell him clearly that I am not a thing. I am a human being and he needs to respect that fact.
So right now, I’m staying at A.’s house in San Diego for a few days. Last Thursday I went to my school and talked to my old boss, T. at the bookstore on campus to see if it was possible to get my job back. School starts in 4 weeks. Customers will be able to buy books next week. T. told me to come back on Monday (yesterday) to talk to the HR guy, R. I went in yesterday and filled out and turned in all my paperwork for the job. I got an email this morning requesting that I fill out an address change form because it’s different from the one I filled out two years ago. I went to the school today and turned that in and told T. that I am available to start working immediately. Hopefully, she’ll put me on the schedule for next week.
All this drama and stress has caused me to have nightmares every night. The first two days I was in San Diego I slept no more than 6 hours total. Non-consecutive sleep. I started to get really sick on Sunday but I made myself lay down. I slept heavy. I’ve been feeling better being out and about and moving forward in getting myself working again. I can’t wait to have money in my pocket and not be so broke, scared, and dependent on others for a place to rest my head. The best thing to come from this situation is that I have a higher sense of self worth and that I’m determined to make my life better. I surprised myself from not backing down when my cousin was about to attack me and even though I feel a lot of anger towards him I also feel really sorry for him. He must be really unhappy and he’s obviously been holding on to a lot of hurt for a long time. I pray and hope that when and if we all sit to talk it goes well. Thanks for reading my longest post ever! It feels great to get this all out.