Tinder Wants Me to Be Alone… Because Someone Must Care For The Strays

I hate the concept of online dating. I’ve never been successful, mostly because I sabotage my own efforts. I half-ass it, to be honest. I’m not really committed to the act of committing myself to search the entire globe for someone to commit myself to.

That’s a lot of commitment.

I just want to point at someone I find mildly attractive and be like, “I pick you. Let’s get married.” Skip everything else in between. All the nonsense. Dating is for the masochistic anyway. Basically, you meet someone and have to hide all of your worst habits, traits and personal eccentricities until they like you enough to feel guilty if they bolt… or until they inevitably reveal their own and you have to decide if you still like them enough to stomach them picking their ass and smelling their fingers in long-term. Dating is an interview for someone of whom you can mutually tolerate.

When it gets to the meeting stage, I always chicken out, convinced they are probably a serial killer with the heads of past dates neatly organized, Tetris-like, in their freezer. It would be my luck. “There must be something horribly wrong with them if they like me this much.” That’s usually my thought process. What can I say? I’m your typical Gen-X’er brought up in a culture where being different is often targeted, definitely not celebrated. If I’m being pursued by a man it’s usually because I’m running. And I have. In high heels down Fifth Avenue from a group of guys yelling slurs. I can’t say I expect much from the human race in general.

I’m not yet eager enough to take that chance, thus, while I have dabbled in the online dating arena, usually during the lonely holidays while partaking from a box of Franzia, I might check in once a year, mostly out of boredom.

Of course, now we have dating apps. Attraction at your fingertips. There are apps for gays and lesbians, Christians and Jewish people, a whole catalog of them for straight, CIS gender people… none for people who fall outside societies firmly planted gender goal posts. Consequentially, we have to adapt ourselves into these narrow communities of folks who aren’t expecting us there. Parties we’re not invited to. Often, it leads to bullying, verbal assault, harassment and shaming. Not always, but most often.

So, Tinder is not new but it’s basically awful. The concept is this: The app shows you a picture of some poor random character within a radial area using your GPS location and you swipe right if you like them, swipe left if you dry heaved. And POOF! Immediately it displays a new individual to judge.

That simple.

Swipe their face. You don’t know anything about them. You don’t have to. It’s like that old website Hot Or Not. If you’re hot you have your choice of chatting with a plethora of potential suitors… if you’re not, well, I hope you like Cats. I have seven.

Thanks to instagram filters and a cloak of makeup so massively disguising it could have been bought directly from Diagon Alley, I figured I might have a little luck. I figure I’m a solid 8 while doused in foundations and powder to conceal myself. I just have to find someone who likes me enough to accept the 4 that I am when I wake up in the morning.

I decided to appeal to gay men first. Why? I know, as a Trans individual who presents mostly female that certainly no gay man is going to be interested in me, very obviously. They tend to stick close to their valley of gyms and vegan take-out joints, tanning salons and Gap stores. However, I know from experience that sometimes men with more fluid sexual interests, or those more sexually liberated often wander into gay oriented bars or clubs… whether with intention or insatiable curiosity, so I figured the anonymity provided online might create enough of a comfort zone to possibly run into one of those open-minded types. I approached this entire effort like I was Jane Goodall in some deep, ancient rain forest trying to communicate with native tribes.

I was pretty direct with my profile… which no one apparently reads unless you match. I offered to chat with anyone if we matched, and explained I was very interested in gender perceived through a photo versus reaction to gender via disclosure. I had a lovely profile, at least I thought, as I sounded incredibly smart and surprisingly professional! I’d have swiped myself right, anyway. I approached this genuinely, only swiped right men I found honestly appealing. (As a sidenote: Always look at the second picture, the first is usually them 6 years ago in masterful lighting back when their face was still taught.)

I remained true to my general taste. The gentlemen I swiped right had a median age of 30, all races. I quickly left swiped men with children in their photos, or what appeared to be loving spouses. While it seems there were a few couples looking to swing dance, I don’t know how. I was also very careful not to swipe favorably any guy who looked like he might have guns or want to kill me as a result of accidentally matching with me. Call me judgmental if you wish, but the entire structure of the app is to determine who is worthy of speaking to based solely on their level of attractiveness. I’m only doing as instructed. If they look like Hannibal or a hillbilly with three teeth and a backwards baseball cap I am stepping out of their lane. This is called self preservation.

Well, the gay side of things was pretty lonely. As expected. I had matched 3 times in two days. To match with someone, you both have to both swipe each other right to ignite your flame, get it? Tinder? Cute. I’d get excited when my phone would buzz saying I had a match and I’d scramble enthusiastically to see which of the fellows I liked took a shine to me as well, mostly because it so rarely happened. To be fair, I imagine if I were a CIS gay man and a picture of a female popped up, I’d sling her ass to the left so hard she’d fly off my phone. No hard feelings. I get it.

For three days I tried to make a friend. No one liked me. Even the three I matched with never spoke to me. I made it clear on my profile I wouldn’t initiate contact as a courtesy and invited them instead to open a dialog so they could do so of their volition and not feel backed against a wall of obligation to say “Hello,” or feel potentially provoked by my presence. Like Jane Goodall I’d sit in the bushes with a book and let them come to me. Some got curious enough to swipe… but it was clear we didn’t speak the same language.

After three days I changed my settings and identified myself as Transgender instead of male, and seeking a male. I felt more comfortable identifying as female, anyway, despite feeling like I’d have much less luck given that most men willing to date Trans women are so deep in the damn closet they’re in Narnia.

I’d left the gay Jungle and now was in the heterosexual belt. I kept my profile the same; Same photo, same information, same invitation to chat and gender disclosure.

My phone began buzzing like a nest of hornets on coke who couldn’t handle themselves in the matter of minutes. Every swipe I made was a match. I racked up hundred of matches on the first day. Look at me, Mom! I’m popular! Suck it, Heather Blackford from sixth grade who told me I looked like Dracula in Drag. They like me! They really like me!

And, then, I watched as each one of them subsequently “Unmatched” from me. Unmatching is a feature that allows you to unlike someone after matching them. Good for people with enthusiastic fingers who might right swipe someone they didn’t intend to, or realized just a moment too soon it was a first cousin. Well, I was being liked and then unliked en masse. It was a very bizarre sensation, kinda like someone shaking your hand and then smacking you in the face. You like me? Nope. No, you definitely don’t. I watched through narrow eyes as my number of matches in the upper corner declined…. 89 matches… 73… 66… 59…

In the interim, I had three men actually message me. One kindly invited me to place things up his backside. The next was a young guy who wanted me to be his new best friend because he “loved my look.” The third guy was terrified that he, himself, may be Transgender because he loved to wear women’s panties. Meanwhile, as the hours ticked by, my phone was humming with more and more matches. And then unmatches. Some wouldn’t bother to unmatch, but instead pretended it never happened, like a fart in the freezer aisle at Walmart. I don’t know if they dropped their phone and ran to confession… or therapy. I was like a regrettable one night stand; A leper that had threatened to spread my contagion all over the pictures of themselves in their ray-ban sunglasses and department store hoodies.I had dirtied their swiping thumbs. No one bothered reading my Transgender Status, which, upon introducing, Tinder claimed would change the game.

It was a level of rejection I hadn’t ever experienced in such a short period of time… and by so many people at once.

My phone battery died, twice, from all the rapid fire matches that kept pouring in and so I left it plugged into the charger so it could continue to endure the vibrating abuse. It made me think that Tinder would be a great device for the guy who wanted things up his butt.

Another message arrived, and I was ecstatic. “You have a message from Zach!” my phone announced. However “Zach” informed me she was actually “Zooey” a gender fluid 22 year old who preferred female pronouns. We spoke at length about our experiences with Tinder and she informed me that hers had been largely the same when she tried being honest. Now, she kept her status a secret until she deemed it necessary to reveal. We bonded over that and had a nice long chat as I sipped green tea and we regaled our mutual love of Linda Belcher and bawdy humor. It was nice to spend time with someone who understood the terrain we were on- this cold, unfamiliar landscape upon which it was evident neither of us were welcome- at least, not as ourselves.

In three days on the predominantly heterosexual side of Tinder, I find it ironic that my first and only real fruitful chat was with someone more similar to me than I ever expected to find there. An ally behind enemy lines. Not a total loss.

I got up to let the dog out as my phone continued vibrating with the voracity and determination of a yipping chihuahua across the end table. Ten minutes passed… the dog takes her sweet time in the bathroom. So did my ex, but the dog smells better. Finally she comes back in and I head to the sofa to continue chatting with Zooey, only to be met with an obscuring pop-up:

I don’t presume my experience is exclusive. I think it’s apparent that Tinder, despite allowing an option for non binary people to self identify, forgets that no one reads the profiles, or even the gender status. Their decision to swipe left or right is made in 0.2 seconds based on their sexual attraction. They only delve deeper once your connect, and even then, soetimes not until you’ve spoken multiple times. Then, they browse your profile and they crap their pants, start saying their Hail Mary’s and report me for abuse- as if I’ve deliberately deceived them or challenged their heterosexuality so strongly that they had to switch over to lesbian pornhub to remind themselves they’re straight, despite me. Tinder has been kind to allow us a gender identity option, but they need to let men filter us out of their choices instead of creating a situation where, instead, they’re reporting us while experiencing an unnecessary sexuality crisis. The extreme intolerance fostered there among it’s Cis male users, should someone like me slip through the cracks and dare create a presence, does not make for a happy- or successful- user experience.

It’s just one more thing that keeps Trans people compelled to hide their identity, passively inferring they do not belong by refusing to allow them a seat at their table, even if we’re allowed a gender marker, it’s ignored in favor of an enticing photo.

Yet somehow, I’m sure the guy who wanted me to shove the entire contents of my kitchen up his rear end is still there, swiping away…

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Bijou Phillips: I Used To Bully Gay People, But I’m Better Now.

Who are you again?

I’m being honest. I had no clue. Isn’t Bijou like the color in some limited edition box of crayolas or a tourist destination in the far south like, I don’t know, somewhere near Peru where people go to contemplate their life and take Ayahuasca?

I’d never heard of her before, but thank god it’s not 1999 anymore because without google, no one would. She’s just be that shady bitch with parents who smoked way too much weed. That’s not far off. Bijou is the child of John Phillips of Mamas and the Papas fame. If you’re too young to remember the Mamas and the Papas, as I am, they were a 60’s and 70’s tambourine playing band of Flower Power people who were famous for songs like “California Dreamin’” and “Monday, Monday.” Most notable of the group was the iconic Mama Cass, the heavy lady with, undeniably, the best voice who infamously died at an early, from choking on a ham sandwich in bed- at least according to Urban Legend. For her sake, I hope it’s true. That’s how I want to die, except I want it to be beef bologna, sprinkled with Dorito crumbs.

They were equally famous for the affairs that occurred between group members. John Phillips carried on a tumultuous love affair with Michelle Phillips that ended in divorce, but a series of semi-famous children came from the groups various coupling, including actress Mackenzie Phillips, star of the 70’s series “One Day At A Time” who more recently detailed in her biography she had engaged in a consensual, incestuous relationship with her father beginning the night before wedding… And you thought your family was weird.

Also part of the kooky clan is Wilson-Philips singer Chynna Phillips who had a few hit singles in the 90’s that I still know all the words to. “I know that there is pain, but if ya hold on for one more day, break free from the chains!” She went on to marry William Baldwin- The good Baldwin. Not the one who calls his teenage daughter abusive names or the one that converted to radical Christianity and makes robocalls for Donald Trump.

Is it any wonder that Bijou turned out to be a complete mess? An entitled beast whose bad behavior has gotten her more press coverage than any personal or professional accomplishment. She’s worse than Lindsay Lohan, primarily because people, at the very least, know who Lindsay Lohan is… I mean, you have too in order to get the jokes.

But, the story about Bijou is that she is also a notorious homophobe and was called out not so long ago by actor Daniel Franzese. I know. I’ve tried to say the name out loud three times and people just keep blessing me. Regardless, he claims that during their days filming 2001’s sleeper hit, ironically titled, “Bully”- also Franzese’s first film, Phillips subjected him to intense humiliation. She body shamed him for his weight and poked fun at him for his sexuality, making crude remarks in front of their fellow co-stars. She went so far as to arrange a get together with Franzese in her trailer, and when he arrived, she made sure she was engaged in full on penetrative sex with the film’s headline star, Brad Renfro, who died in 2008 of a heroine overdose. She wanted to embarrass him by putting her heterosexuality on full display with a Man Franzese had developed a fondness for.

Personally, I’d have found the nearest hose and doused the vile brat while saying the Lord’s prayer as loud as I could. Instead, Franzese kept his composure and maintained his professionalism, stating that Renfro himself came to apologize for Philips disgusting behavior.

He called her out in a lengthy facebook post seventeen years later citing the fact that he was inspired by Ellen Page, who brought to light the onslaught of homophobic and abusive behavior she endured at the hands of director Bret Rattner while filming X-Men. Of course, Rattner had a notorious reputation for abusing women, thus became one of the hundreds who fell on the sword off the #MeToo movement.

In a response to Franzese’s post, Phillips released a carefully constructed statement through a representative. She has a representative? Why does she need a representative? She’s done four projects in the last 8 years. Ah, well. Trust funds.

This was her statement to TMZ;

“I want to write to address what Daniel has said. I don’t remember that time well, those years are a blur. I was a teenager and reckless in my behavior. I know Daniel to be a trustworthy and honest person, and to find out through social media that I was not the friend I thought I was to him made me so sad. I am so mortified by this behavior and have contacted Daniel and apologized to him privately. I am not and never have been homophobic. I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ community and Daniel.”

I have a hard time remembering people I publicly humiliate, too. In my case it’s usually myself after a few vodkas… in hers, it was likely the pharmacy she kept in her Gucci bag. Needless to say, she and her husband, that guy, Danny Masterson from “That 70’s Show” (What is it with these people and the 70’s?) who sports the pedophile mustache and looks like he could use a bath, are also devout Scientologists. We all know how much they love our community; According to their doctrine, “Homosexuality is destroying civilization by removing the foundation block of family.”

Later that afternoon, shortly after her “Heartfelt” apology, Phillips was caught taking her daughter for a stroll… and taking selfies in a floppy black hat, not altogether like Jessica Lange in American Horror Story: Coven, except without the class or talent. Instead she was busy trying to find her good light.

Franzese stated that Phillips did indeed call him to make ammends; The smart thing to do with the tide of career destroying behavior accountability rolling in. But, her public apology was problematic, to say the very least.

If she had no problem with the LGBTQ community, she’d have never used her own sexuality to torment Franzese over his own. Nor would she have felt so superior to him as to body shame him and even resort to physically assaulting him. She didn’t say “18 years ago I was an asshole.” No. Not at all. She claims she never- keyword- never had anything but love for the LGBTQ community and Daniel.

Well, if that’s how she expresses love, I’d hate to on Bijou’s bad side.

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The Straight Pride Badge Looks Like A Cheap Drug Store Eyeshadow Pallet (And I Love It.)

In the world we inhabit of the Have and Have-Nots — I realize that sounded like the beginning of a Dr. Suess Book, but I digress.) — cisgender, heterosexuals tend to get a little resentful that we have things like Gay Pride, or Trans Day of Visibility, and well, like their Rights and Equalities, they want to keep these things for themselves.

For a long time, those of the heterosexual persuasion have wanted their own pride flag, their own marches and days of acknowledgement, and have been begging for it on social media like that little kid from “A Christmas Story” who wanted a Red Rider BB Gun. They also want White Pride marches, and to rail against this mythical beast — the troll of all “ism’s” — Reverse racism, by declaring their resistance to white oppression, despite none existing. Does it still need pointed out that White people invented the system of Racism, and thus cannot be a victim of their own machine? I guess it does. Their machine worked too well, actually, and victimized millions of people… But they view their own victims as possessing a privilege they do not have; that of outrage… thus, they inherently desire the right to be outraged as well, so they feign their own victim-hood, just to keep the status quo. “If you can be angry, I can too.” or, to borrow from the classic film, Annie Get Your Gun, “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.” Except they didn’t.

It’s hard to be angry. I literally can’t. There’s a pang of pity over the sheer demonstration of ignorance, which I’m using as a nice word for blatant stupidity. Another part of me feels like they’re a mere puppy, who rolls in their own crap because they think it makes them smell fantastic, never realizing the rest of the world is cringing, as we run away holding our noses.

So, in the latest effort to put on parade their thinly veiled anti-gay belief system, they’ve attempted to create their own “Straight pride Flag” and it looks as bland, boring and sub-par as one would expect from a bunch of folks who have spent their life comfortably between the goal posts of acceptability, never having to acknowledge or fight against adversity because of their gender, color, or sexual orientation.

I present to you the “Straight Pride Flag pin” — possibly a brooch, for the lapel of a woman who would most certainly need to speak to every manager of every salon, department store and restaurant she’s ever been to. For every Barbara, Debra, or Karen, and their equally heterosexual, missionary-position-only husbands, Tom, Bob and Bill (Sometimes William at the office where he sells car insurance.) here is the most dull pallet one could possibly manifest, not even if they tried harder:

I feel like Avon might have sold this in 1978, back when we women were returning to the phase of “I’m wearing make up, but you can’t tell” era of mediocrity. As a piece of fine jewelry, nothing about this shouts “Wow! That’s Brandable!” to me, like I wouldn’t buy it on a Mug or a T-shirt because most definitely one of the colors would disappear.

Oddly, so uninspired was this flag that literally two of the colors are exactly the same. Brown and brown. Even taking this into my lab- which is photoshop- the gradient of hex codes indicating the colors were indifferent to each other. Did they just get to the fifth color and get tired? Did Harry look to Brad and just exclaim, “Wow, this is hard.” They could have gone to the Lowe’s paint department and picked out a more creative swatch from the wall, to be honest- problem is, they’d likely have had to ask the lesbian working the counter for help. For the record, I love Lowe’s lesbians. They helped me build my deck.

I’m not mad about the Straight Pride Flag, but confess, I am amused, if not altogether entertained. You see, dear reader, everyone is looking to be mad about something. Everyone wants to be incensed by the slighted slip of the tongue or conflicting opinion that it’s put an entire generation of folks on meds to cope with the fact that people… brace yourself.. won’t always agree with you.

I’ve been called lebophobic for defending Transwomen against “Radfems” who claim the state of existing as Transgender is a War on Women- and they even have rallies and marches about it.

I’ve been called homophobic for standing up against gay politicians who want to excise Transgender people from the LGBT umbrella and declare we are a “Liability to the gay agenda.

I’ve been called Religiously intolerant for defending lesbians who just wanted a damn cake baked for their wedding.

I was accused of “Body Shaming” for chastising a stranger who sent me a photo of his genitals and acted like he was doing me some enormous favor. Enormous, not the word I used for his penis, meant that I was humiliating him rather than defending my right to exist in my space without having some random guy’s penis thrust in my face… er… inbox.

I’ve been called- get ready for this- Transphobic for saying that I’m not bothered by the hatred spewed at me, or deleting nasty transphobic comments on my wall because I believe in letting people have their opinion, and letting the world at large judge them for it, rather than hide it, or delete it on their behalf.

I laugh. I’m a comedian. I stopped taking the world so seriously long long ago, recognizing that if I let every knife hurled in my direction cut too deeply, I’d end up scarred for life. Indeed, I write in defense of disenfranchised communities; I fight back against political ostracization of LGBT people, People of color, all women and the brutal, disproportionate murders of Trans Women of color. I know when it’s serious.

I also know when it’s ridiculous. And like the time I had to roll my eyes and hold in my teeth when I read that white women were mobilizing to get the #WhiteBabyMagic hashtag trending on twitter to combat, what they uniformly dubbed, “the aggressive breeding of black folks” I refuse to debate with those in a vacuum.

Instead, I’m going to laugh at them.

And their straight flag. And their straight pride marches and their declarations of reverse racism, and their fear… their absolute desperate fear of, for once, being in a minority.

Indeed, White, straight folks fear falling into the minority.

That fear is born from the reality that, perhaps, suddenly they will become vulnerable to being treated just as they have treated us for centuries.

Indeed, that must be terrifying.

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I Documented The Men Who Hit On Me On Facebook… And The Results Were Hilarious

I’ve never thought of Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat as a means to make a love connection.

I figured that was just presumed. I never share personal information on social media. I keep a firm boundary between the ongoings in my day-to-day life and the masses online that both consume and opine on one’s status updates. We all know that girl whose boyfriend cheated on her, or the guy reveling in his new relationship- the third one that week. There’s the fights between friends, couple or colleagues, which I admit I follow with the enthusiasm of teenage boy who’s discovered his first pubic hair. I watch with bated breath for the next accusation or insult to come hurling across the universe and land squarely on my timeline.

Sure, sometimes I share my reactions to current news topics, or Trans-positive thoughts for the day, but mostly, my timeline is an abyss of bad jokes and random thoughts typical of someone heavily, happily medicated. I don’t take social media seriously, nor do I apply much gravity to the things I read.

I’ve learned that Facebook and other social media sites have a whole other demographic: And that is primarily men looking to ‘connect’ with women. In the past few years, I’ve become rather discriminating with regard to the friend requests I accept, because allowing a stranger past the threshold of my virtual door usually resulted in an immediate instant private message… a “Hey baby,” or “Hi sexy.” Is this Craigslist?

It became so predictable that I started to just have fun with it. So, exchanges like this became routine.

I know, I know it seems cruel. But, as I’d sit here, fiddling about on my laptop, working, only to be inundated with something so unexpected and oftentimes simply grotesque, I could think of no other way to react other than to be as bold and unapologetic as these complete strangers had been to me.

I particularly appreciated the men from places like India who possessed a level of sexual confidence that I envy. Like Ragamesh, for example, who invited me to be his cow.

Words cannot describe how flattered I was to be offered such a spirited opportunity as being plowed like a cow. I like to think that this is about as close as one can get to a marriage proposal in his part of the world. Others who reside in his general area were far less creative.

That’s a lot of thumbs, and while the approval is hugely appreciated by someone like me, who often wonders if my efforts are paying off, the routine “Thumps Up” emoticons of varying sizes became the measure of my daily status success. I figured, the bigger the thumb, the better my status updates must have been on that particular day.

Not all of them bothered with a cute emoticon or sweet little kissy-face sticker to express their approval, some amorous fellows just decided to bombard me, like that classic cartoon character, Pepe Le Pew and his eternally unrequited love interest who spends every episode trying to escape his, ahem, charms.

Priorities.

I must be big in India. Like, huge. A proper sex symbol. At least in my head. I bet they have a billboard of me somewhere with my Facebook URL, because it isn’t just the sudden manifestation of random men who find their way to the terrifying cesspool that is the “Filtered” inbox of my messages, but some pretty interesting job offers as well.

I had to google what a lahk was, and I’m pretty sure I’m worth a whole lot of lakhs. So, I passed up this offer in hopes that a more lucrative opportunity might pop up down the line.

To be fair, some part of me also appreciates the persistence of some men. The sheer refusal to be ignored, even after months and months of failed attempts to fetch a response. But, I’m a charitable sort.

The accounts with strange, clearly fake names aren’t the only sources of gratuitous solicitations of my person. On a few occasions, I’ve received quite polite messages from interested men who’ve mistaken Facebook for Tinder, or OKCupid;

Take Care.

I love it when you don’t even have to say “No.” You just hand them their pride, pat them on the head and they find their way to the nearest exit. Other times, they seem thrown into an abyss of confusion when my response isn’t as overwhelmingly agreeable as they believed it would be…

What do you Mean?
WEB MD Was offline.
Detachable Parts
Oh, Don.
The light is red.

They don’t get angry, or start calling you names. Usually, in my case, an outright rejection fetches catastrophic results and the guy who was just asking to see me in my underwear is now calling me “Ugly,” and an “Abomination to God” or a “Sick pervert.” The irony is too entertaining to actually muster any reciprocal outrage.

Most odd, though, are the men who know me… or more precisely, knew me at some point in my life. By some sheer coincidence, perhaps curiosity, they find me again, like this old schoolmate who I couldn’t remember for the life of me, but he certainly knew me.

I’m still amazed he remembered me, given he strikes me as the kind of guy with Velcro shoes. Others try to be clever with their pick up lines, but I’m a pretty hardened bitch. As a Trans woman, I have to adapt a tough exterior, so I don’t leave much room for guys to think they have a hope in hell that I’m suddenly going to fall madly in love over messenger.

You have to do better than that.
Because you never can tell.
OMG.

And then there are the married men- or men in relationships. I still find it bizarre that these men write me love letters online like I’m the Santa Claus of sex. Like if they’re convincing enough I’ll drop down their chimney or show up on their doorstep like Frost the Hoe-man.

Check yourself before you wreck your marriage.
She cries herself to sleep at night.
Spread the word.

I think my favorite type of guys are the ones who think that they can best stimulate your interest by being combative or aggressive. They charge into your private messages like the Don Juan of bullfighters, waving a red flag to challenge something you’ve said in a status to demonstrate their bravery and dominance- even though there is little question that they were just looking for an open door to start a dialog. That’s the wrong way to approach me.

Said with Love.

Some just get outright angry if they don’t grab your attention by other means.

LUV U 2

As much as facebook has offered me a portal into the universe, and sometimes the lives of strangers where I sit like some voyeur scrolling down my feed, I’ve been most entertained by the treasures left in my inbox. I’m sure most of the women you know get these messages, have a cackle with their girlfriends over the water cooler at work and move on with their day. I save them.

As much of a social experiment as Facebook is, it’s just as much fun to see what happens when a user approaches it with a different intention altogether. I’ll leave you with my favorite experience so far. The guy who attacked me online, and I decided to tell his mother.

Thank you for messaging.

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Was Rainbow Brite and her Gender Non Conforming Friends the Gayest Cartoon Ever?

It never occurred to me, but yes. Yes it was.

When I was a kid, I wanted a Rainbow Brite doll more than anything in the world. I was dazzled by her shock yellow hair and daring club kid haute couture fashion.

Starlite, Rainbow Brite’s trusty and Sassy Steed

She rode around on a magical pony, Starlite, that farted glitter and had a sassy attitude that could rival any drag queen. Her mission throughout her story was to bring color and light to an otherwise bland and bleak world, which had fallen into a a state of disarray due to the growing power of her adversaries, Murky Dismal and his henchman, Lurky. They hate color. They loathe anything different or unique. They embark on a relentless war to rid the world of anything unlike themselves…

Then there was her best friend; Her “Personal Sprite” aptly named Twink. You see, Twink was this adorable little white puffball with antennae adorned with small golden stars. He was unique, however, in that he had fallen victim to the guile of Murky, and had his bright color stolen from him, thus leaving him white instead of boasting radical colors like his fellow sprites. He had been forcibly converted to a life of the mundane. Regardless of being robbed of his spectacular display of color, Twink was rescued by Rainbow Brite and made her right hand, often left in charge while she was away on her adventures. Twink was the eager-to-please type who wikipedia describes as “often appearing manic due to his heightened sense of urgency.”

Twink wasn’t the only sprite that made up Rainbow Brite’s little army of cuddly, genderless critters. There was also a variety of others, including Champ, the gym fanatic who was obsessed with working out. Hammy was a campy comedian who had a one-liner for virtually every scenario. Spark was hyper active, always optimistic and the life of the party. O.J., well, he was your typical narcissist, absolutely in love with himself, distracted by his own good looks and loved it when people fawned over him. Romeo was the dashing romantic. He knew how to throw a compliment whether genuine or not. He could talk a snowman out of his carrot if given the opportunity because his charm was simply irresistible. I.Q. was more gentle than her primary colored friends, more effeminate, shy, a little awkward but always well meaning. He preferred to engage in thoughtful, existential conversations rather go to battle. Lucky Sprite was perpetually jolly for no particular reason. He was like that best friend you could always tell a secret too and know it would be kept safe in his care- and he also probably crawled under dumpsters to rescue cats if he heard a stray meow.

These Sprites weren’t alone in Rainbow Brite’s war against the forces of oppression and erasure of anything beautiful or otherwise diverse; Not in the least. Each Sprite, you see, was the companion of what were affectionately known as “The Color Kids.”

The Color Kids — Red Butler, Lala Orange, Canary Yellow, Patty O’Green, Buddy Blue, Indigo, Shy Violet, Tickled Pink, Rainbow Brite, Stormy, Moonglow.

Many of The Color Kids, whose very personalities reflected their coordinated colored Sprite, presented with the kind of gender ambiguity that was typical 80’s synth bands- not really Saturday Morning Cartoons. While their dress code may have been sometimes male/female indicative, their flamboyance and gender indistinct mannerisms may have left adults wondering. Yet, suffice it to say, the non conformity of Canary Yellow, who refuses to don the hoop skirt the other girls are famous for, and the drag look- and name of Tickled Pink left me wondering how I managed to miss such blatant references and deliberate borrowing from LGBT culture in the most amazing ways possible. Also important to mention? Indigo Shy, who far predated Disney’s Princess Jasmine, was showing us that children of ethnic diversity were just as vital- and magical as their white counterparts. And, she was playing a pivotal role in ensuring the world itself stayed as proudly bright as ever.

Who can say whether or not Rainbow Bright was some genius metaphor for equality, diversity, and the resistance to the demand to conform and comply with socially imposed norms. However, now I can’t watch a single episode without seeing it. The parallels are indisputable, intentional or not. If Rainbow Brite wasn’t a remark on girl power before the Spice Girls sang about it, or Gay Pride, ethnic pride, and the power of unity in the face of relentless adversity coming from positions of power, the it was prophetic, at the very least. Simply put; Rainbow Brite was the Queer Icon we needed.

As it happens, my favorite villains in Rainbow Brite were not the primary duo of Murky Dismal and his easily confused bestie, Lurky, but the Glitterbots.

Yes, the Glitterbots. A horde of sentient robots under the control of one Sgt. Zombo, a military prison warden who uses the Glitterbots to enslave and control the colorful sprites, and enslave anyone who dares depart from standardized forms of bland acceptability.

Ultimately, Rainbow Brite was all about being liberated from ideologists who had a very specific, linear world view which alienated most everyone else. As a result, they were often pursued, persecuted or imprisoned altogether for nothing other than being different.

Later reboots of the series clearly saw the gay undertones and went to great lengths to change some of the references- and even the names. In the 2014 revival, Twink was renamed Mr. Glitters- the first time an intentional male pronoun was used to refer to a sprite. The Color Kids kept their iconic looks, but were given a very modern update.

The 2014 Color Kids Reboot.

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“Anything” Featuring Matt Bomer As a Transgender Woman Fails to Deliver the Representation We…

“Anything” Featuring Matt Bomer As a Transgender Woman Fails to Deliver the Representation We Deserve.

Most of my reader know that I am staunchly against Cisgender actors playing Transgender roles in television and film productions. More often than not, it comes off as mockery; An actor dons a costume and parades around as a woman who has lived the Trans experiences. Most of the time, he gets showered with awards for it, and I expect Matt Bomer’s performance in “Anything” will fetch the same results come awards season.

Why? Because a Cis actor putting on Trans skin and pretending to be us is considered brave, daring and groundbreaking. But it isn’t. Anyone can put on lipstick and a dress, in fact, most men have at one point in their lives just for Halloween. The problem with Hollywood doing it over and over again (Jared Leto, Hillary Swank, Eddie Redmayne, Dakota Fanning) is that it never delivers the portrayal from an authentic emotional or psychological perspective. It’s reductive, and the Hollywood machine is so busy patting these “courageous” actors on the backs that they never see it.

While the concept of “Anything” is compelling, one cannot watch without seeing Matt Bomer playing a Transwoman, which completely breaks the immersion. Clearly, Bomer has not had any access to the lives of Trans women, thus, he is forced to make it up as he goes along, trying to play a character rather than portray a figure who life experiences has shaped them as a Transgender individual. Beyond that, seeing a cis Man, like Bomer, who can wipe off the makeup, go home to his family and leave it all behind because being Trans for 6 months was just his job is an insult to the actual brave men and women who walk out of their house into the hellish streets of prejudice and judgement every single day. They do not have the privilege of taking off their identity and resuming a “normal” life.

Matt Bomer in “Anything”

An actors job is to pull from something they know… an emotion or an experience they are intimate with, some comparable to manifest a relationship with the character they are portraying so they can do it convincingly and with dignity. You revisit uncomfortable events in your life to bring a real response to the surface of your performance. Bomer lacks that, as did Redmayne, Leto, Felicity Huffman in TransAmerica, and Hillary swank. None of these actors had ever faced the very real, incredibly damaging struggle of dealing with and accepting a gender identity that departs from social acceptability. With respect to that, it inevitably falls into a sort of circus performance, where they’re the proverbial clown, drawing emotions on their face instead of feeling them- or making their audience feel them.

Tangerine film directed by Sean Baker — 2015

The film by Sean Baker, 2015’s critical darling, Tangerine, was an enormous success because it starred two transgender women actually playing transgender characters. They had an entire history of substantial experiences to pull from in order to give a sense of realism that cannot be achieved by a cis actor portraying a Trans woman.

Why do we accept this as normal. Why is it so outlandish to consider casting an actual Transgender woman to play a character she is made to play. Isn’t that exactly what casting directors actively seek when filling roles in major films? Someone who bring a specific realism to the performance without it being denigrated to pantomime. Did anyone ask Bomer if he’s ever been called a “Tra**y?” or if he’d ever been beaten up, verbally attacked, laughed at on the bus, harassed at school or work for being a Trans woman? No. Because it’s never happened to him. He may be a fine actor, but casting him in this role when there is an entire menagerie of qualified Transgender actresses who could have given us genuine responses and provoked authentic reactions seems like nothing more than thinly veiled prejudice in itself.

I want to cry because I believe it happened; Laugh because I’m happy to see a disenfranchised individual have their burden lifted, even if just for a moment; Champion them because they’ve found love, against the odds, with someone who isn’t fetishising them. I want to feel the character is tangible, not giving me a modern version of blackface.

Why is this such a monumental task? What exactly is wrong with casting Trans individuals in roles suited for them instead of seeking out some “It” boy or the latest heartthrob. I must mention that Bomer is, actually, a gay man, which makes his portrayal even worse. That this casting director was willing to overlook hundreds of Trans women and cast a gay man in a female role is not just offensive, but it’s obscene because it demonstrates a willingness to include gay people in their elite fold, but continue the practices of alienating Trans performers.

Here’s the thing- Trans women and men both young and old deserve to be accurately represented on-screen. We deserve to have a public presence where we are provided beacons of hope, enlightenment, and we have the right to be given our own screen idols. Glossing over the Trans existences in favor of a makeshift one by proxy of some cis actor is repeated negligence and a deliberate slap in the face to the entire Trans community. We’re asking for representation and visibility in media.

This is not it.

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If This Makes You Angry, Good.

Pardon me for being absolutely, excusably crude, but, you know what’s stupid?

That I have to keep writing these essays. That you have to keep reading about the rights of LGBT Americans being threatened every day. That we’re being banned, terms that define us erased, and while lawmakers wage an outright war against Transgender men and women across the America, from sea to shining sea, we have to keep reminding each other we’ll be okay.

We have to write inspirational quips about pushing forward, organizing to influence chance, usurping the evangelical Christians holding our nation hostage- and by that, I don’t mean placing a ransom on it, but instead, severing us from our rights, our dignities and our ability to function in greater society, just like everyone else who is fortunate enough to fall within the gold standard of desirability. And we just watch it get worse.

Let’s be honest, currently we have very few politicians fighting for our right to exist. While Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both now relegated to delivering meme-worthy quotes off hallmark cards on twitter and facebook, could have represented us, they didn’t. While their agenda may not be “Make America White again, Christian again, straight again, cisgender again, male dominated again” they’re not bothering to say, “Let the Transgender people live their lives according to the rights and privileges we all do.” The cacophony of voices in the opposition is far louder than any support in this administration.

I’m still not quite certain what disjointed reality I’ve slipped into where someone with at least a thread of moral fiber remaining doesn’t stop cold in their tracks and says “Whoa! Wait a minute, this doesn’t sound right. This doesn’t sound fair. This doesn’t sound American. Why aren’t Transgender people entitled to the American Dream…” whatever that was. In the bellows of opposition coming from the parapets of power, it seems like we’re the only ones returning fire. From the ground.

People love to use the old argument “If you want change, go vote.” Well, when even that’s compromised, which 17 intelligence agencies determined it was, how do we continue to vote with confidence. In the upcoming midterms, I’m delighted to announce that there are a multitude of LGBT people running for seats in both local and state political races. Recently a couple of Transwomen won a seat, usurping the conservative Republicans in a district Trump had won previously by over 20 points. There’s reason for optimism… but complacency is what led us here, and we cannot fall victim to that again.

Personally, I don’t want to spend another three years writing about the senseless killings of Trans women of color, or more young Trans kids committing suicide, or new laws being passed that segregate us from the “normal” majority, or bemoaning the fact that we’re being systematically excluded from every major national debate- even the 2020 census proposes to erase us from society.

This isn’t a debate anymore, where two sides deliberate the pros and cons of domestic issues. This is a radical attack on a segment of the population that is being threatened with each new state bill or ominous 4 am tweet. This isn’t a conversation where we sit down and present our case- we’re not given a voice, no one is volunteering to be one on the senate floors, thus, we have no defense. So we keep rallying, marching, holding each other up during the darkest of days, and demonstrating solidarity when the goal, clearly, is to divide us.

How many of you are tired of hearing it? Are you exhausted yet? Do you feel like you’re living in some bizarre episode of Black Mirror or the victim of an epic prank where any minute Ashton Kutcher is going to pop up from behind the desk in the oval office and gleefully announce, “You’ve been Punk’d?”

We’ve come to the point where delivering counter points- reinforcing what is right instead of wrong and attempting to inject logic and rational is futile. It doesn’t exist on the other side. We’re attempting to reason with insanity, and that’s a battle that is never won. They stick their fingers in their ears, holler something about Jesus and pedophiles and men wearing dresses to rape little girls, and nothing to the contrary is received. We must accept that our opposition, all of them, from government leaders to Radfem’s and TERFs, to religious zealots and conservatives, live in their own little Trans-exclusionary world. The President himself has given them permission. Their resistance to the outside reality which consists of people not like them; A bunch of manufactured villains and deviants, is encouraged by those in power positions.

When we speak, it is without a doubt, to ourselves. We’re doing the whole “Preaching to the choir” song and dance. Anyone who stumbles upon my articles that isn’t one of us has taken the liberty to look me up on facebook, sending me hilariously threatening messages, call me a “Fa**ot in women’s clothes” or even something called a INCEL- which I had to google, I confess, but it means to be “involuntarily celibate”, a person (usually male) who has a horrible personality and treats women like sexual objects and thinks his lack of a sex life comes from being “ugly” when its really just his blatant sexism and terrible attitude. That gave me a good laugh. It was from a woman. A lesbian who finds that my being Transgender is an expression of “Lesbophobia.” I admit that I find it odd that people I readily ally with when they find themselves on the receiving end of oppression would so quickly, and unabashedly, turn on me.

I’ve campaigned against homophobia for years; Against Kim Davis, who refused to offer same sex couples marriage licenses. I spoke out vehemently against the bakery that refused to bake a cake for a loving lesbian couple. I’ve championed the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” I’ve marched for women’s rights to their own choices, and equal pay for equal work- and suffice it to say, the women I regard as my parents are an older lesbian couple. So, to find myself on the end of the proverbial knife of Radfems was interesting, to say the least. Yet, they are just one of the sects who rally against the inclusion and normalizing of Transgender women- they’re at least more forgiving to Trans men, who they just perceive as women that we have seduced and brainwashed into out collective, still denying them any ownership of their gender identity… in fact, refuting it altogether, but with some semblance of sympathy.

Trans women, on the other hand, are the epitome of evil in their world. We are the antagonist in their narrative wherein they play the hero hellbent on stopping us from…

…From what, exactly? From being happy? Enjoying our lives? Moving through society without judgmental stares and hostile remarks on our appearance, uninvited commentary or blatant disapproval?

It makes no sense. None. And no matter how any times you engage, you soon find yourself going in circles and falling into the mouth of madness. To keep negotiating at a table where you sit alone, abandoned by the other party who has made up their mind, is self defeating.

We’ve all done it. We’ve all locked horns with a Transphobic zealot quoting bible verses, or a conservative- who usually ends up on the front page of the daily news for asking little boys to sit on his face– who insists that Trans people are mentally ill; A sort of mass psychosis. And when our sisters are murdered at an alarming frequency, they say “Rest in power.”

Pardon me?

Where is her power? She was rendered powerless in life, and no one beyond her own community cared about her until she was number X… they’re counting us now, our deaths, and then asking the murder victims to rest in power. I can’t think of anything more condescending or insulting than to be a disenfranchised minority, robbed of my voice, attacked by my government, ridiculed by my peers and then told to rest in power. What power has she got now, pray tell, that she didn’t have before, because she wasn’t allowed it?

I’ve had a few readers refer to me as a pessimist. I reject that term. I’m a realist. It does no one any favors to delude ourselves, or lull ourselves into a false sense of security. Maybe we shouldn’t be distracted by our intention to deliver our message to the masses softly. I’m not worried about ruffling feathers.

That this is 2018, and we’re still leaving letters, posts, editorials, essays, social media statuses pleading for our right to exist without retribution is exactly what I deemed it at the beginning of this article; Stupid.

Stupid is an ugly word, but I’m pretty immune to ugly words nowadays.

But, most importantly, I want to leave you with this; While it is, indeed, stupid, it’s necessary. More so than ever. We have to keep talking. We have to keep building this legacy, documenting this history of a place and time of what we’ve endured so that the children of tomorrow will know, and they might appreciate the gravity of the injustices committed against Trans people…

… and while the fight is arduous, the arguments repetitive, the logic falling on deaf ears over and over again in favor of a self-manifested hatred toward us, it is these words, and our stories, that will prevent history from repeating itself.

So I fully intend to keep doing what I’m doing, as stupid and redundant as it feels as I roll my eyes and find myself saying the same things again as if, maybe, one time it will hit a soft spot in the brain of a bigot and shake them from their lofty tower. It’s not likely, and I get that. That’s why some think it’s pointless.

But silence has never gotten us anywhere.

And silence will never be remembered.

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Am I The Only One Who Thinks Our Cultural Obsession with Celebrity “Baby Bumps” is Creepy?

I’ll say it. It’s weird.

And if you’re one of those people who anxiously surf the web or wait with bated breath over the next photo of a famous woman’s bulging belly, you are too.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the strange one who finds it bizarre that paparazzi send up drones armed with high definition cameras and storm the beaches on Malibu in hopes of catching some pregnant woman with a bulbous bare midriff. There’s a disturbing aspect to the pursuit and, what I can only describe as fetishist behavior toward pregnant women.

It’s a relatively new thing, this tabloid phenomenon of capturing future mothers while in full blossom. The headlines scream from the front covers of supermarket magazines; “Khloe Kardashian unveils baby bump in revealing dress!” “Cardi B. puts baby bump on display during Saturday Night Live performance,” “Beyonce debuts belly full of babies while shopping in Beverly Hills.” And I can’t help but stop and think to myself… Why?

It’s happened to virtually every pregnant celebrity in the last ten years, from Princess Kate Middleton, to Blac Chyna, Drew Barrymore, Natalie Portman, Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie and countless others who are expecting. The typically modest Anne Hathaway beat nosy photographers to the punch after she caught them hiding in the bushes as she basked in the sun on an Australian beach by posting her own baby bump picture on Instagram to thwart paparazzi intent on selling them to the highest bidder.

She captioned her Instagram post:

“So, posting a bikini pic is a little out of character for me, but just now while I was at the beach I noticed I was being photographed, I figure if this kind of photo is going to be out in the world it should at least be an image that makes me happy (and be one that was taken with my consent. And with a filter :)”- Anne Hathaway

When did it become normal for expectant public figures to have to run, dodge or outsmart the media who are intent on, not only invading their privacy, but encroaching upon a woman’s very private, personal and intimate experience of pregnancy? When did the public become so fascinated by the concept of a pregnant celebrity who is showing that they devote entire websites to “Bump sightings?” These sites are absolutely loaded with archives of celebrities with exposed, bulging abdomens in candid, often unanticipated photos.

My opinion may be largely unpopular considering the infinite number of google results that return when searching “Bump watch.” I must be in a minority given that I don’t find these images at all entertaining or extraordinarily fascinating. The fact is, women get pregnant all the time. For them, justifiably, it’s a monumental, family event that they’re under no obligation to share with the rest of the world. More concerning is the throngs of people who salivate over them.

Gone are the days where we respected the fragility of heavily pregnant women who were once entitled to experience the journey of motherhood with their dignity in tact. Whereas, once before, it was considered inappropriate to even touch a woman’s belly without consent, now the media is photographing them in various states of undress as they sunbathe or take a holiday stroll, completely unaware of the shutterbugs leering from the shadows to capture their distended tummy- which is accompanied by derogatory stories remarking on it’s size, the stretchmarks, and even debating the state of their term. It’s become the new virtual sport in Hollywood, and more than a little cringe-worthy.

It goes well beyond the polite “congratulations” or the delivery of a basket of flowers. Now it’s a full on race for paparazzi to capture images of a woman showing evidence of pregnancy- and sometimes, that’s not even the case. For example, in the last six years, Jennifer Aniston has been rumored to be pregnant more than 40 times. Yes, you read that right. 40 times. Even making national headlines.

Imagine how humiliating it might be if, say, Aniston, who has never been pregnant, struggled with fertility issues, but was subjected to these relentless headlines.

Ultimately, this is about respect. Respect of a woman’s right to experience the exciting adventure of pregnancy without being under the microscope of the public ohh’ing and ahh’ing over her stomach like it’s the first one they’ve ever seen. More than that, it’s about allowing women the opportunity to disclose their pregnancy when they chose to. And if they’re not pregnant at all because of a personal medical issue, then it’s an outright shaming of them for not being able to satiate this odd obsession people have with pregnant celebrities.

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Perez Hilton Hopes His Son Will Grow up Straight. Here’s Why That’s Okay.

Perez Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, rose to fame in the early 2000’s as one of the first internet celebrity gossip bloggers. His cut-throat approach to revealing some of Hollywood elites most guarded secrets didn’t just make his famous; It made him infamous. He was both at once loathed by industry insiders and loved by gossip hounds who coveted the fact that the rich and famous were just as messy and ridiculous as the rest of us.

By no means a professional journalist, Hilton created an empire as a celebrity chasing fanboy who notoriously outed Lance Bass months before he revealed he was gay; posted x-rated photos of screenwriter Dustin Lance Black in a series of compromising situations with another man, made fun of Rumor Willis, daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis and ultimately made a career of dishing salacious secrets and humiliating the subjects of his blog posts. No one was spared from the ire of Hilton, not even the children of the celebrities that he eviscerated in his missives. Early in his career, he was, himself famous for drawing penis doodles on the faces of those he wrote about. After being labeled a bully, Hilton, who is a gay man, suddenly found himself being unanimously rejected by even his most devout readers due to his unapologetic pursuit of humiliating famous people by either outing them, accusing them of being gay or subtly implying they were. As the backlash ensued, Hilton decided it was time to grow up, declared himself a “changed man” and announced he would stop outing and shaming celebrities for, well, being human.

“In talking about all these gay teens who had committed suicide a lot of people started to call me a hypocrite and a bully, and it got to a point where a majority of people thought that. It was life-changing. I had kept telling myself that I was just talking about celebrities and I didn’t feel bad because they were rich and famous and knew what they were signing up for.

But I was being really nasty to these people and they are human, and some people might have got the message that it’s OK to behave in the same way. I deluded myself.” — Perez Hilton

Perhaps, part of this change was influenced by that fact that Hilton had become a father, which suddenly thrust him under the same knife of celebrity scrutiny he had exposed others to. Many speculated on his emotional stability, his moral compass, and whether or not he was fit to raise a child. Suffice it to say, none of the tabloid ramblings had any more merit that Hilton’s own, years long, dissection of the personal lives of others. In retrospect, it was a sort of karmic justice.

Perez Hilton / Celebrity Big Brother © Channel 5

In 2015, he appeared on the UK television staple, Celebrity Big Brother is which he donned a pair of speedos, humped windows, bragged about the size of his manhood, wept uncontrollably and told a fellow house guest “If I was your child I’d kill myself.” During his stint on the widely watched reality show, his antics were so controversial that it left audiences wondering how this man took care of himself, much less an infant child.

Here we are now and Hilton has added two more daughters to his brood via surrogate, and while his online persona has been substantially tamed (No more penis doodles.) he has continued to make a spectacle of himself at every opportunity.

Last week, Hilton shockingly stated on his podcast that he would not allow his five year old son to take dance classes for fear it would “Make him gay.

As a gay man himself, I am in awe of the fact that Hilton believes that any outside influence can make someone gay. It feels reductive to have to reiterate this, as science has done a much better job over the last two decades than I can now, but I will anyway; You can’t be made gay, Perez. And if you’re gay, you can’t be made straight. It’s embarrassing you have to be told this.

For a moment, though, let’s set that blatant stupidity aside.

As a Trans woman, life has not been a walk in the park. The resistance the LGBT community (As well as people of color) have experienced has been amplified just because of who we are, what we look like, how we dress, talk, walk and who we keep the company of. We have arrows of hatred shot at us from the parapets of elitism coming from every direction; From the president, from school teachers, from conservatives, from religious zealots, from alt-right fanatics, from lawmakers, from anonymous bullies on social media and the general public. The media mocks us, makes crude jokes at our expense and the subject of our gender identities or respective sexuality becomes tabloid fodder- something Hilton is intimately familiar with having been guilty of it himself.

Yet, is it really wrong to hope that your child isn’t subjected to that? I recall being seventeen years old and accompanying a dear friend of mine who decided to come out to their Mother as a gay man. I stood by his side as he confessed that he was terrified he was going to disappoint her, but he needed to be open and honest with her in order to move forward. He told her he hoped one day to meet the love of his life- and that could only be achieved, by his very nature, with another man.

She cried. She sobbed. She snotted into a box of kleenex as he apologized profusely until she took his hand, looked him in the eye and said words I’ll never forget:

“I don’t care if you’re gay. That doesn’t bother me or make me think less of you or disappoint me because my love for you isn’t measured by who you love. But I’m so scared that the world out there will ruin you. I’m crying because I know that there are so many people who will never give themselves the chance to know you; to see how truly wonderful you are and what a kind soul you have because they will not look beyond who you love. You deserve so much more; So much better.”

I understood. But, that factor alone is what makes coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender such an enormous obstacle- and why our disclosure can fetch such an emotional response from those who love us. While there are instances where pure ignorance can result in our ostracization from family and peer groups, sometimes the tears aren’t ones of absolute rejection, but of a keen awareness of the obstacles we will inevitably be faced with; The trials we will endure, for no valid reason other than the bigotry of others.

In a follow up video to his statements, which were met with outrage from the LGBT community and our allies, Hilton did his best to clarify, albeit clumsily and without much tact. Yet, the nucleus of his explanation, which could have been easily lost between the misinformed hyperbole of claiming “50% of dancers are gay,” and how instead he signed his son up for tennis lessons to reinforce heterosexual tendancies, was this; “I want him to have an easier life than I had.”

To be completely fair, being the son of a man who has made a career of publicly naming and shaming people- and even paying physical consequences for it, like getting punched in the face by Will.i.Am. after calling the rapper a fa**ot, isn’t exactly the best first foot to step out on as a child embarks on this oftentimes treacherous life journey. I was surprised to see Hilton wasn’t more concerned that his past exploits would come back to haunt his children, instead of worrying about their, as of yet, unexpressed sexuality.

As a parent, I think it’s fair to give Hilton breathing room when expressing his hope that his children are straight, especially because of how intimate he is with the persecution of gay men, being one himself. Of course, I’d be negligent if I didn’t mention the hostile climate our government has fostered toward LGBT Americans, and in other countries, gay men are being rounded up like wild animals and executed. Violence toward the LGBT community is at a record high as our President appeals to the rage of his fanbase, even giving them special rights to discriminate against us by explicitly removing the laws intended to protect us. As we’ve all witnessed our community subjected to state-sanctioned neglect, we’ve spiraled into a dystopian nightmare where everything we knew to be wrong is suddenly accepted as right and good.

Hilton made clear that, even should his son determine that he is gay, he would still love and support him unconditionally.

That’s more than I can say for most parents of LGBT children.

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I Was Attacked By Roosters and Made into a Viral Sensation, Then It Got Ugly

Never ebay while wine drunk.

That was my first mistake. As an avid animal lover and activist for the humane treatment of all creatures great and small, one particularly lonely but well-intended evening I decided that I should buy rare chicken eggs and help propagate the species to ensure their survival.

It sounds noble enough, right? After all, I had just purchased a five acre farmhouse on the lake and thought I could give my soon-to-be fledgling birds the perfect home where they could roam wild and carefree. I’ve always loved animals. Even in my small, one bedroom apartment I raised nests of wild bunnies, orphaned ducklings, rescued and re-homed dozens of kittens and even a bird or two. I guess my faithful companion, a three-legged Dog named Tutu and I made what one might equate to an animal ambulance.

That’s when I thought it would be marvelous to spend a ridiculous sum of money on some of the rarest fertilized chicken eggs on ebay at three in the morning after consuming a liberal amount of a box of Franzia red wine. Chilled, of course. Historically, I make my best choices after midnight. At least they seem brilliant and exciting at the time. In reality, all it did was earn me my Masters in poor life decisions.

The eggs arrived. They hatched. And most of them were roosters. They were the cutest little bundles of fur I’d ever seen. I’d given them endearing names and kept them in a rubbermaid basket beside my bed. I became the vigilant mother to my flock of featherballs, and as they grew, they became like family.

And like family, and true to the nature of roosters, they eventually turned on each other, exerting dominance in the pecking order no matter how I urged them to mind their manners and be gentlemen. Ultimately, I had to separate the weaker ones from the smaller.

My partner built a spacious, rather luxurious coop in the back yard that rivaled Fort Knox. An absolute necessity as I soon found out, given that once we transitioned from the city to the country, that creatures of all sorts descended from the swampy woods on their nightly hunt for food, and my chickens were their prime meal. My back yard was like Frickers to the wild nocturnal beasts that stalked through my dark back yard.

Imagine this, if you will. I grew up in something of a bubble. Suffice it to say, I’m a perky idiot, devoid of the realities of nature. I can’t even watch National Geographic without covering my eyes when a hungry lion takes down an innocent Gazelle who was just lounging around chewing cud enjoying the afternoon sun. Inside, I’m a devout city girl; A nightlife performer, a social butterfly who’d been whisked past long lines and escorted into New York Cities most trendy clubs. Believe it or not, I loathed the idea of the great outdoors and believed that camping was something mostly reserved for the masculine sort who belonged to the NRA and enjoyed peeing outside. I suppose, naively, that I envisioned living in the country- not in a shack or camouflage hunting blind- but a proper house, would be somewhat magical. Like a Disney princess, little bluebirds and crafty field mice would flutter around my head and sew me the prettiest of silken fineries from vines and flower petals. That’s how it worked for Snow White and Cinderella anyway. I am, after all, as close as one can get to a princess. I’m a Drag Queen, a Trans woman, which by today’s standards is pretty much a Unicorn.

I never imagined the country life would be my waking nightmare. Hostile and unforgiving. Many of my beloved chickens were murdered by raccoons. I’d come home from an evening out to find fuzzy corpses strewn across the backyard like something out of an 80’s horror flick and to say it traumatized me is an understatement. I became paranoid, staying up until daybreak for over a year, listening intently for the any chirp or caw that could be perceived as distress call. I bought a pink BB gun, and even if I thought I heard something unusual, tore out the door into the back yard like I was Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Thankfully, the new coop prevented any further massacres. It took a heavy toll on my mental state. I had gone from rescuer of little creatures to a warden in a chicken penitentiary, ready to fire BB’s from my Barbie BB Gun at anything that moved in the shadowy brush.

An army of Raccoons… that’s what found me. I’m not exaggerating. My remote country house which should have been the epitome of an English paradise came under attack by dozens of black-eyed, bloodthirsty bandits. I’d walk out my front door and they’d be hovering in my trees above my porch. I’d look out my window and see them marching around the perimeters of my coop looking for any vulnerability in it’s construction. I began to despise them for wanting to kill off the rest of my poor, defenseless Roosters. I found myself doing my own security checks, ditching my high heels for a pair of knee high rubber galoshes- that were camouflage- and stomping through my yard at all hours of the night with by trusty pellet gun. I never had to use it, however. I don’t know that I could have. It just isn’t in my nature to hurt something even in self defense, but I did plenty of screaming and cussing to chase things back into the woods; Not just raccoons, but possums, skunks, foxes, minks and one summer evening, even a small pack of coyotes. I won’t lie… I didn’t approach the coyotes when they wandered into my yard, but I did get into my car and blow the horn for a solid five minutes while screaming expletives out the window.

I began setting humane traps in the summer — of course humane traps because, as I said, I cannot kill anything. The summer of 2016, my partner and I hauled off over 40 raccoons that came near the coop. I transported them miles away to a wildlife refuge. During the drive, sometimes multiple trips per night in the wee small hours, I sternly lectured each one. Finally, we seemed to make a dent in their numbers. Good. I’d come to despise them, no matter how cute their little button noses and precious their vocal chirps and chortles. I was now a hardened raccoon bigot.

But, I imagine my remaining roosters were irreparably damaged, mentally. They hated me. When I’d go out in the morning to let them free range, they’d attack me. They’d chase me back into my house, crowing like some kind of violent war cry. I understood. They’d seen most of their brothers and sisters fall victim to savage, brutal murder… and I was supposed to be their great protector, their Mom who raised them from little yolks, and I failed them.

My partner, who worked from sun up until sun down, didn’t believe the trials I’d go through each day in order to feed them and let them out to play in the grassy field, so one day, I recorded it. I propped up the camera on the porch and went to the coop to let them out for their morning escapade. Sure enough, like a gang of crips whose territory I’d invaded, they attacked me, gouging my legs with their sharp talons.

I uploaded it to youtube with the title “My Chickens Attack Me” expecting that others who might be self described Divas found themselves suddenly at the mercy of nature might have sympathy. That was one million views ago.

I never expected the chaos that would ensue. The Daily Mail took screenshots of me with my face drawn back and contorted with fear as I braced myself from each attack. Completely unflattering for a selfie Queen like myself, but there I was. Not exactly the form of celebrity I imagined. I certainly was no Kim Kardashian, breaking the internet with my unbridled sexual prowess. Instead of shooting champagne from a bottle into a cup propped up on my ass, I was getting it kicked by angry roosters.

The comments weren’t encouraging. “Woman takes on Two Black Cocks,” seemed to be the most popular, if not altogether uninspired joke. As anonymous denizens of the internet scoured the rest of the videos on my youtube channel realized I was a Trans woman and comedian, the commentary became more harsh and predictably cruel. Not just about me, but my beloved chickens as well. People suggested I kill them, snap their necks, beat them with a baseball bat.

Others said they hated me because of my hair, which, gathered in a bun atop my head, could have been mistaken for a sexually eager whore of a hen. I was called names I had to google. I was made fun of for everything from my clothes to the swishiness of my walk. I never knew I swished. Why did no one ever tell me I swished? Investigative users who perused my other videos were provided endless ammunition for the compulsory cock jokes. Often I would sit there reading the comments with my jaw on the floor, completely in awe of the venom that spewed forth like geyser of pure hatred… from complete strangers with anonymous accounts.

If one thing good came from the experience of being the subject of a viral video, I developed a much thicker skin and learned to laugh at- and actually appreciate the occasional clever insult.

The following summer, we felt it was appropriate to intercept the inevitable raccoon invasion that was sure to befall us. Before the end of spring we transported 20 raccoons to safe spaces… but as luck would have it, there was one thing I failed to take into consideration on my mission to protect my chickens from the persistence of the raccoon clans.

As I sat dragging my garbage to the curbside early one morning, I saw a small, wobbly critter rooting through the grass, no bigger than a kitten. As I approached it, I realized it was my worst enemy. A Raccoon.

A baby Raccoon.

A baby to young to be away from it’s mother… And he wasn’t happy.

I stood there in disbelief. Then went to get my phone to record it, just in case it attacked me so the police would have video evidence of my final moments. I was certain this was an act of revenge. As I slowly approached him, camera in hand, I had an epiphany… much to my own horror, it occurred to me that its mother must have been one of the many I had hauled off in the middle of the night. It was alone, and surely would starve. I wrapped him up in my coat, talking to him in a comforting voice.

Yes, you guys. I talked to him. I was taken to task for talking to the Raccoon. “You dumb B*tch, you expect he’s going to answer you?” quipped one commenter. He, along with many others thought my conversation with a Raccoon was absolutely absurd. Maybe it was. I confess, I am absurd. I also have daily conversations with my dog and all seven of my cats. I’d only worry for my sanity if they answered, alas, that hasn’t happened yet, but I digress.

However, I brought the Raccoon into my home- the offspring of my adversary. The son of my nemesis. And, well…

…We became friends. I bottle fed him. He waddled around and played with my cats and adopted one of their toys which he slept with as he curled up in a clothes hamper for a nap. In a weird twist of events, I’d become the parent to an orphan whose family I had robbed him of.

He stayed with me until he was weened from a bottle. He grew stronger each day and loved to be cuddled, often nuzzling himself under my chin. As he grew, I located a wonderful wildlife rehabilitation home that would help him develop the skills required to eventually return to the wild. As it happens, the wildlife nurse who took him in was simultaneously caring for other orphaned Raccoons. So, my little bandit baby found a family like him after all. At my request, his carer sent me photos often to update me on his progress.

After nearly six months, the time had come to let him live the life of a proper wild raccoon. He, along with his adopted sister, were set free together at a wildlife reserve. We escorted them deep within the woods, me, my partner and their carer, and we bid them a fond, if not emotional farewell.

It wasn’t long afterward that the internet found the video of that fateful day I met this beautiful little furbaby and, similarly to the chicken experience that I documented for my partner- and apparently half the world, the video of my first encounter with the baby Raccoon was soon seen by over a million people. Most of who made fun of my voice. But by then, I was immune to the contentious remarks and instead found them quite amusing, which eventually waned into indifference. As a minority, I’ve heard worse from better people. Offensive efforts aren’t genuinely offensive to me these days; They sort of roll off, like water off a ducks back.

And speaking of poultry, just when I thought my adventures in the wild had come to an end and the only real struggle remaining was the fist-sized mosquitoes that lunged at me in swarms every time I stepped out my front door past sundown, another wild animal from- actually I have no idea where they come from, they just show up- decided to attack me while I sat in my car on my way to an appointment. I was late. This is why.

I didn’t realize he was sitting on the other side of my car when I got in and started the engine, but he quickly ran around the vehicle to see what the hell I thought I was doing. For what it’s worth, I talked to the turkey, too. Regardless, this turkey was soon distracted and I became irrelevant as he fell madly in love with his reflection in my hubcap. I never know what to expect from the moment I step out my door anymore, but I’ve documented my Transgender, Drag Queen farmer adventures on youtube. I realize that I’m a fish out of water trying to muddle through this quirky country life that I fell into like a sinkhole- and that it’s having a laugh while it has it’s way with me.

So are the good internet citizens on youtube. I don’t read the comments anymore.

And they’re lucky I don’t. I still have that pink barbie BB gun.

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