Why I quit my job to pursue freelance full time

I am about to take one of the biggest gambles of my life. Or at least I am toying with it.

I have been writing professionally for seven years. I have had over 2500 articles published in more than a dozen publications, print and digital. I maintain this blog, and it’s former iterations, regularly. I write for a living. Or, as least I used to.

Since moving to Dallas I have not taken a single writing job. In fact I haven’t had all that many writing opportunities. I have been feeling the intense pressure from settling into a suffocating corporate office job that has drained all life from my soul.

That changed last night. I attended my first shift as a studio photographer for the first time. That brief two-and-a-half hour shift injected more life into my soul than anything I have done in the last several months, meeting my wonderful girlfriend aside, and I felt the pain of getting up and going to the soul-sucking corporate job today. So I didn’t go. At first I called in to by me some time. And to that end I might have to force myself to go back. But as of this morning my mindset is I won’t go back instead I will do the photo stuff as much as they will let me and then pursue freelance projects on the side.

The difference this time is I am not saying I will send proposals or spend time on indeed applying for jobs I won’t get. My strategy here is to consider my time when I am away from the photo studio as my second job. I set myself a work schedule, I gave myself an hour for lunch and I set up my workspace. I even punched the time clock to keep track of my hours. I am treating this like a job. I am spending 6 hours a day devoted to networking, pitching, preparing, writing and submitting articles to as many publications as I can find the time in that span.

I am taking a gamble here. I have been unemployed before, dependent on freelance opportunities. I haven’t been all that successful in the past. I am understandably afraid of what is to come. My podcast barely generates $11 dollars a month after fees. While I appreciate every donor I get, that doesn’t even put gas in my car really. Today I decided to pool all my resources towards this project. I am going to rely on my connections I made in the news business, my knowledge of pitching stories, my social media skills and combine all that with a desperation to not be homeless ever again.

I called in sick. I have the option to return to work until they determine I am no longer fit for service. I am not likely to take that option. I gave myself the weekend to see if I can muster enough confidence to pull this off. I am not betting confidence alone, that doesn’t pay the bills. I am devoting six hours today to my goal of treating this like a proper job. I will make contacts, send emails, submit proposals, apply for freelance opportunities and network as if my life depends on it.

I could plead with my supporters who can offer me some solace by supporting my patreon campaign, you can find that by going to http://www.patreon.com/stephaniebri but I don’t want to depend on that. I have a couple of other options up my sleeve that could potentially make me some money too. If things work out I am making the smart move. If not, I will double down on finding another soul-sucking corporate job to pay the bills until I can’t stand that any longer either.

Profile on the deities I selected for my practice part one: The Triple god Yahweh, Joshua and the Holy Spirit

YHWY has gone by many names. In the Nazarene faith, my replacement for the name of the religion I recently left, is seen as the Creator God, the Almighty. According to tradition he created the entire universe, or at least the solar system, in the span of 7 days. He is primarily the God of the Hebrew people, Jews today or Israelites in centuries past.

I chose to profile him first as he took top billing in the core of beliefs I intend to follow.

He can be seen as a culmination or an extension of El or Elohim, an older God worshiped by the Israelites before the coming of his Son, Joshua, translated as Jesus in English speaking countries.

I chose Yahweh because of familiarity. I am not going to honor his church, study his book or live according to the tenants his followers have handed down over generations. I will revere him as my supreme God but with the understanding I will see him mostly on Sundays and his Holidays, which are Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. The remainder of the year I will keep him close in my heart but not exclusively.

I will incorporate His teachings into my witchcraft through certain prayers and rituals conducted by pre-Nazarene Hebrews, and older traditions that have not been passed down into modern Nazarene faith. I refuse to call him, or his following, by their modern English name. I make this distinction as a reminder to myself that I keep him in my heart and life but that I do not respect his hateful followers who twist his teachings to cause harm.

I was always very spiritual as a kid. I was originally drawn to the Nazarene faith when I was studying the different mythologies. I felt a calling to this particular deity and I answered that call. I currently believe the Word of God is contained in the Bible, I don’t believe the bible is the whole truth. It is not entirely complete. The truth, I believe, goes beyond the scripture. Yes it says not to go beyond what is written, but there is a lot of wiggle room in the teachings and unfortunately his followers hardly agree on two things.

What I seek from maintaining my relationship with this first deity of mine is to keep an open dialogue. I choose to honor him on his days, mostly Sunday and a handful of holidays around the year, but I have made it clear he is my first God, but not my only god.

I won’t be using his book for divination or moral guidance. I will reference Joshua’s teachings, especially those from the Sermon on the Mound. Beyond that I am not going to attend Mass or other church services, I am not going to give credence to those who quote his words to me nor am I going to limit my experiences to seeking power from just his will alone.

All in all I have no ill will towards the Holy Trinity. I have the utmost respect and reverence for the God himself in his triple form, I merely won’t limit by beliefs to exclusively his teachings unhindered.

The REAL reason for the rise of the trans cult in recent years

You might be wondering why there are so many more trans people or nonbinary folks today than ever before. Some have accused us of being a cult. Others call it a trend. Well there is actually a much simpler explanation that doesn’t require conspiracy theories. To put it bluntly it’s just safer for us to come out now than it was before.

What happened? For starters in June 2020 the Supreme Court of the United States of America granted us equal rights for the first time in this nations history. Let that sink in. Before June last year it was STILL legal to discriminate against trans people at a federal level. Even if a state had protections one could argue before a court the trans persons didn’t have rights.

What this meant was if you took the chance of coming out as trans to begin the long process of becoming your authentic self, you could face being fired from your job, evicted from your home, denied services including food stamps and denied access to homeless shelters. It was a difficult life for trans people. It still is. But we didn’t even have legal protections until just over a year ago. And they’ve been fighting to strip us of our rights ever since.

When I decided to come out was directly a result of this decision. I live in Texas, one of the many states that didn’t offer legal protections. I was also living in a very Republican controlled, confederate supporting county at the time. I was not only afraid for the reasons I stated above, but also for my own life. Coming out, transitioning did cost me a job in a way, would have cost me another and put me in a bind seeking replacement opportunities.

What you are seeing among older trans folks is since we now feel safer, and the anguish hiding in the closet causes us, we are finally starting to come out later in life, in droves. This isn’t a trend or a cult or something they put in the water to turn us gay, it is in fact how we always were but you never saw it, we were that good at hiding. The fact is society FORCED us to become deceivers. We had no choice but to blend in to survive. That meant using fake names, wrong genders and following societal tropes that emphasized our conformity all to deflect from ourselves. This is why so many of us were jerks as men, bitches as women, especially our nonbinary friends. Lying on a daily basis wears down your soul. Eventually you get to a point where you’ve had enough and have to make a change, consequences be damned.

So before you run off at the mouth claiming trans is a cult or nonbinary people are just following a trend keep in mind we literally had to live in fear until a year ago. Those who did transition earlier had a hard as hell time and those people are tough as nails yet buried under decades of trauma as a result. Society is not kind to gender nonconforming folks. At the very least you could be kinder to us and help spread that kindness around, after all we only got put on equal footing with you smack dab in the middle of a global pandemic. We’re exhausted from all the constant assaults. If you consider yourself an ally or even a friend to a trans, nonbinary or genderfluid person please remember to show us even more kindness than you give your aging grandmother, because we’ve live through hell to get where we are and we’re damn tired of the barrage of attacks on our very existence.

I am starting to understand love now

Last night my girlfriend and I shared a very special date night. It was our one month anniversary of when we went public. We both marked our first date on our calendar as a special day but I marked a different day to celebrate on mine; the anniversary of the first time It old her I loved her.

When I told her I knew she wasn’t ready to say it back. Not because she didn’t feel it, I could tell by our conversation the night before she had feelings but didn’t have the words yet. I myself took longer to get the words than I expected. Considering the only other woman I ever said those words to was a failed engagement I felt really confident knowing I was giving her more than words, I was giving her my heart.

Love has always eluded me. Even in my own family those who claim to love me hardly show it. My parents do their best but they limit their expressions to things they know. I do the same. I show people I love them in subtle ways. Usually with regular hellos.

Last night was the first time I watched my beautiful love cry. It wasn’t because she had a rough day and needed to vent. It wasn’t because the romantic movie she picked for date night was sorta sad. It wasn’t because she was in a bad place or overly emotional. She cried because I did something thoughtful for her she didn’t expect. I wrote her a poem straight from my heart.

This was the first time I ever wrote a poem about someone I love. The first poem I wrote her, a few weeks ago, was more about my journey walking a lonely road to discover her. She was the end result of a long, desolate trek through the wilderness in it. In this latest poem she was the focus of my love. I wrote all the nice things I could think of her using what imagery I knew would resonate with her.

I haven’t written many poems to be fair. I was assigned a poetry writing class in college I never took because it would have been the semester following my expulsion. I have a book of poems written by Emily Dickenson but I hardly find the time to read through them. I do with my poetry what I do in all my writing, I simply write from the heart.

It has taken me this long to start to get an idea of what true love really is. The more time I spend with my love the more exciting life becomes.  I keep finding new ways to express my love for her as well as finding new things for us to do together. It’s difficult because the distance between us is so great, the obstacles in our way are also challenging. Despite all that I believe our love is true and will continue to grow. I know that we’re going to have our ups and downs. We had both last night.

I spent a portion of the evening trying to cheer her up. She was having a rough day and needed me to try to relieve her stress. I did my best which she confided was just what she needed. I am also enjoying watching our friendship bloom as well. That friendship is where this all started. I said the first day I spoke to her I was just so grateful to have her as a friend. Even in that moment I told myself if that was all she let me have I’d cherish it until the end of time. I am beyond blessed she saw fit to let me into her heart because it’s such a warm and comfortable place to be. I love her so much I, a college educated professional writer do not have the words to express how deeply I’d do anything for her. All I can do is seek new ways to remind her how important she is to me as often as I can. It took me this long to understand what love is. Now that I have it, I am in awe at how wonderful two people can make each other feel. If she is feeling what I am feeling, I am super happy for her too!

My thoughts on the Netflix Chappelle ordeal and the compan’s response

I am flat out not going to get into the Dave Chappelle stuff. That guy can fuck himself and that’s all I have to say about that. What I want to discuss is the response Netflix has taken regarding the backlash.

I was reading some articles online yesterday, one in particular caught my eye. It had a response from some higher ups within Netflix who basically shrugged it off as the specials make them money so they’re fine with them.

That is the bigger issue here. It’s not about should a comedian have the right to spew hate towards a marginalized group. As much as we find that disgusting, it is protected free speech in some regards. Not free speech I support but I won’t get into that right now. The bigger issue is how profitable hate speech itself has become. The very fact these specials where he dumps on trans people are so popular Netflix dares not remove them is telling. It says to me that our culture values their own feelings over everyone else, and it reminds me of the dangers of capitalism. Someone of African descent should know all to well what lengths rich white guys will go to in order to obtain wealth. Maybe he forgot that part of our countries history?

It is also telling that his “comedy” is so well received. It goes back to my first point, how the majority take comfort in our suffering. It is a reality trans men and women know all to well. It isn’t just the fact his special exist that is the issue, but that they are so popular the capitalists are celebrating their success. That sickens me. It further reinforces why we are under constant attack. All this shit head has been has done is given the fucknuts more fuel for their vitriolic assault on our rights.

He is giving them justification to attack us. That is the real danger. When people compare the plight of LGBTQ+ people to that of African Americans it includes LGBTQ+ people of color. We know all to well how deadly being a black trans woman is in this country, yet this asshat conveniently forgot that. It’s almost as if he say the political climate and realized he could get rich dumping on us, his soul be damned he pocket book was about to be fat and that’s all that mattered to him.

You may notice I often refrain from profanity in my writings. While I often drop F-bombs on my podcast or in YouTube videos, I try to keep this clean, for the most part. I can’t write about Dave Fucking Dumb Ass Chappelle without calling him an asshat piece of shit fucknuts capitalist tool. It would be irresponsible for me to do so otherwise. This shit has got to stop. Yes we need to band together to boycott his filth and stop giving a platform to haters. That is the real issue. Netflix ignores the countless hours of transphobic content on their site because they threw us a couple bones to “prove” their commitment to diversity. Bullshit they are slaves to Capitalism and the almighty profit not us. Look at how they are treating their trans employees who spoke out about it. That more than anything pisses me off. It further proves they value profits over our safety. Now those employees are publicly blasted and could very well become targets of violence themselves. Right now I am beyond disgusted with Netflix more so than the bigot they gave a platform too. And there is the problem. Capitalism is larger then all of us and until we change that system hate will always be profitable in a country filled with haters.

Why liberalism doesn’t work

If you put a group of conservatives in the same room chances are high you can predict how they are going to come down on different issues. Although there are some divisions between Neo-Nazis and libertarians, for the most part conservatives tend to be fairly unified on most issues. 

This isn’t the case with those on the left. While you might find some unity on things like human rights or the important of democracy, we tend to be far more divided on things than our right-leaning counterparts. We have divisions within our own ranks. I have met liberals who support gun control measures but we can’t agree on how far to go. Environmentalists tear each other apart over issues from veganism to sustainable energy. About the only thing conservatives are divided on is which scapegoat they want to blame for their problems. 

I never really considered myself a liberal necessarily. I tend to tell people I am a progressive, environmentalist, socialist, humanitarian with strong support for LGBT issues. Naturally within each of those there is infighting. How far left does a progressive go before becoming a liberal? Where do we draw the line on acceptable environmental impact for human comfort versus the extreme of eco-fascism?  Even when it comes to socialism we have those who think communism is the end goal while others who push for reigning in capitalism without completely reforming the entire system. 

Who am I? What is this? I am not a political pundit or even an expert in any field. What I am is a progressive who desires to improve the world we live in. I am disillusioned by the infighting within our own ranks. I even see this in the broader LGBTQ+ community. I discovered this shortly after beginning to appear as a former co-host/side-kick on the Transposed Podcast. I recognized the divisions were tearing our own community apart. It was recently I started paying closer attention to divisions in the environmentalist ranks.

What I started to realize were threads where a left-leaning or liberal-minded individual would try to engage with a conservative on some topic or another. As others on the left would chime in instead of uniting to dismantle the cons argument, the liberals would slowly divulge into tearing each other apart as one group said that wasn’t far enough, others suggest the con had x point but it needed to be refined, to those who just sounded like they were unwilling to risk being branded as liberals. I see this time and again. I saw it a lot during my time moderating the social media accounts for the news organizations where I worked in the past. 

Everyone knows the trope. Don’t dive into the comments of a news article because of all the fighting. But I noticed a pattern develop more often than not. You have the conservatives on the right putting up a united front, save for the divisions between blatant bigots and those more subtle in their bigotry, against a divided left that ranged from let’s try to get along to compromise is equal to complacency. This is where we are weaker. We stop fighting our political rivals in favor or fighting amongst ourselves. This gets to be exhausting as threads turn into shouting matches riddled with constant name-calling.

This is not to say there aren’t divisions on the right. There are. If you put a Protestant, Evangelical and Catholic in the same room, throw a representative of the LDS church and a member of the Watch Tower, they’ll rip each other apart arguing over theology. But when it comes to politics they tend to set aside their differences and unite under causes those on the left champion. Even on the left when it comes to reproductive rights you have those who favor abortion for all against others who say only in cases of rape or incest yet still those who say ban it out right. On the right they’re fairly united against it in nearly all cases for the most part. 

This is the same with LGBT issues. On the left we have infighting among TERFS, Gender Criticals  and the “LGB without the T” movements against the LGBTQIA+ crowd, the kink or no kink crowd, the fighting between sexual orientation and gender identities and so on and so forth. What we see on the right tends to be if it’s not cishet it’s just flat out wrong. As despicable as the right are in the majority of their views, they have us beat in unity. Oh you could bring up the Never-Trumpers as “proof” they’re not that united yet the cowards all hid behind the red MAGA flags when that troll rose to power.

We can argue all day long how hypocritical it is for those who claim to be Patriots refusing to accept a vaccine THEIR OWN government they proclaim to be patriotic towards helped develop. It does no good to remind them that this vaccine was developed by the same “American exceptionalism” they chant at those MAGA rallies when bragging about how we eradicated polio or how we “own” the space race. It doesn’t matter because the anti-vaxxers are all united under the banner of “smaller government” and that’s been their mantra since at least the Reagan years. 

Not so on the left. It does us no good because when we try to belittle their attacks or disprove their misinformation with facts we quickly devolve into our own arguments on how broken the health care system is. It doesn’t matter how effective the vaccine is when we’re too busy fighting over how far Medicare for all should go or too busy attacking the capitalists who are profiting off the development of the vaccine in the first place.

Sure we’re united on vaccine is good, anti-vaxxers are stupid but our tactics tend to eventually pit us against ourselves rather than making any progress. Which is why liberalism and progressivism are doomed to fail. We have to find some common ground, issues we CAN united under and push those, piece by piece, while we find ways to diplomatically resolve our own differences. Until then we can surely expect a red wave to sweep this nation again once the disgust with Trump has worn off, replaced by constant reminders how “confusing” liberals are. If we can’t stop fighting out selves how can we defeat our enemies?

How we can lift each other up, even when lying face first on the floor

Depression is a demon all LGBT individuals have to face from time-to-time. Some of us struggle with it more than others. Whether we face it alone, with others or we offer support to someone else who is struggling, it is a regular part of our daily lives.

One of the causes for depression among trans gender individuals are societal and family issues often preventing us from beginning our transition journey to become our authentic selves. Sometimes the gender dysphoria and the negative feelings it causes within us can bring us to tears. Often times it can be so overwhelming we lose ourselves.

Even though being snowed under the weight of depression, anxiety and dysphoria can cause us all to buckle under, one area that can also get us as down is our efforts to lift up one another. One of my trans sisters pointed out her and I were both holding each other up while our foundation was made out of straw and we collapsed whenever it rained. The problem is I couldn’t hold her up when I had fallen nor could she when it was I who stumbled. This is evident whenever we try to prop up a fellow trans brother or sister while we are ourselves on our own knees trying to stand back up.

One of my most trusted sisters told me that despite the front she often puts on, she is far from as strong as people think. So many people are leaning on her I see her often buckle under the weight. This has gotten me down whenever I am on the floor crying and I have to wipe off my own tears and try my best to comfort a friend in need. This is a part of life, however. I am a firm believer nobody has it figured out. We’re all just trying to get through it all in our own way.

What can we do? Listen when your friends come to you. Be there. Offer a thoughtful suggestion if they ask but sometimes just paying attention to them can go a long ways in standing out in their minds. Also one thing I emphasize is check in on your friends. We’re all hurting. Sometimes I will go out of my way to check in on my friends. But, I get down myself when nobody I care about takes the time to reach out to me. I will never ignore or neglect anyone even if it takes me a while to get back to you. In the meantime never be afraid to lift one another up. We all need it from time to time.

Canonizing a cult can be confusing!

Ever since I began my spiritual journey into paganism I have been at a loss for how I wanted to proceed in regards to deities. I began simply as a Catholic desiring to practice magic (witchcraft) due to my calling to nature and chaos magic. This has eventually, along side constant bombardment by Christ-followers attacking me for being trans, led me down a path that pushed me to shun their practice.

When I sat out to determine the canon I was going to follow, or official sources if you will, I wanted to ensure the cult (in broadest sense non-mainstream religion) was going to offer me the spiritual fulfilment I was seeking while allowing me to pursue the magical arts.

This will be a series of deities I have chosen to induct if you will into my own personal “canon” which will serve each a role in my craft, practice and worship in some capacity. I chose 12 spirits to revere, mostly goddesses, one God and a single spirit animal. I selected the number 12 as it is sacred to me personally. It has always been my favorite number and has meaning to me beyond a merely pretty looking numeral.

I will devote an entire article to each spirit I chose to revere or choose to incorporate into my magic. For various reasons I limited myself to mostly female entities. There were a few who I believed called to me that I had a falling out with and have since moved on. As this series progresses I will reveal, one by one, each spirit and what they mean to me and why they were chosen.

The list is quite curated and I am bursting with anticipation to share why each one was selected as well as the role they will play in my life. Some will get more time than others. Only four are going to enter my daily rituals in some form. These are not necessarily ranked in order of most to least important but they are sort of ranked in order that I discovered them.

The 12 Gods and Goddesses that will make up my cult of witchcraft and paganistic rituals:

1.  Yahweh and his son Joshua

I will use the Hebrew names to revere and worship the first deity I ever gave my heart to. For now this Trinity of Gods, the Holy Spirit included, will get my heart daily but will receive my worship on Sundays, the Lords Day.

2. Brigid

The triple Goddess who called to me recently. The daughter of the Phantom Queen whom revealed herself to me in a dream, Brigid is a fire deity as well as goddess of poetry and smithing. As such she holds a special place in my art as a crafter of words and things. She will get daily devotions and sacrifices.

3. Gaia

The Mother Earth herself. As a nature witch it is only fitting I include the spirit of nature in my practice. She will get honor and reverence on a daily basis as well.

4. The Bear

This is not a deity rather my spirit animal I will call upon it for strength and courage as needed.

5. Luna

The moon goddess. She rules over the night. I will rely upon her for moon magic. Mostly charging things I will use for spells. I will also devote the Full Moons to her save those that fall on holidays, those she will be honored but not exclusively.

6. Hecate

The goddess of witchcraft. As a witch it is only fitting I honor her. She will be one I will make a concerted effort to please as she will be one who I call upon frequently during spells.

7-8 Athena and Venus

To Greek goddesses I selected for their status in mythology. I will honor them on their respective days as well as call upon as needed.

9. Virgo (Astraea)

The goddess of my birth. I was born under her sign, I will revere her and call on her during that month.

10. Ostara

The goddess Easter is named after. She will get her own holiday but shall share the time with Joshua. Other than that I will revere her as I desire.

11. Greek Muses

Not a single entity but rather a collective in a way. I will do more reading into them but for now consider this essentially a placeholder.

12. Artemus

Not the least of the goddesses but the last I found. I picked her to complete the canon but she was also on a list that I felt was important to me.

The three spirits I will commune with not listed above, not deities nor my spirit animal per se. These I will not worship but my call upon for spells or other uses as needed or just talk to to seek knowledge or wisdom. Dryads or Nymphs, aka tree spirits. Obviously as a nature witch I already talk to trees. Fairies or Fey, those creatures of Celtic mythology most of which are themselves close to nature. And the spirit of cats, I just love cats.

Being trans is a war: Fighting for the right to basic healthcare, HRT

Starting HRT is a tremendous part of any transgender, nonbinary or genderfluid persons life we nearly all mark it on our calendar the day we get to start. It is so important to us we celebrate our anniversary of when we get our first dose. For many it’s aspirational, our end goal we all seek. For others it is a detriment, a source of anxiety and despair for want but lack of access.

Hormone replacement therapy is one of the absolutely most basic forms of healthcare for trans individuals. Even though it is something nearly all of us crave, it’s not very well understood. For starters there are tons of gate keepers trying to prevent us from gaining access to the healthcare we seek.

Then there is the matter of science. Because HRT is so difficult to obtain it means there is a small sample group for scientists to study. This means we don’t have good science regarding the effects of HRT.

We all hear results are not typical. Every trans person knows going in that there are unknown variables. We hope it will feminize us if we are MfT or masc us up if we are FtM. The whole unknown is one of the reasons gate keepers use for withholding care. The argument goes it’s a risky transformation that a lot of medical professionals, for one reason or another, do not feel qualified to prescribe due to lack of knowledge. Of course this is a problem. How can we study the effects if we keep access away from people who need it. This is especially true for children and teenagers.

I am not going to make a plea to the powers that be in the political spectrum as to why we need easier access. I suspect my audience is largely, if not exclusively, LGBT readers. Thus I am preaching to the choir and therefore not likely to enact change. Sure by me writing about it the search engines will have one more blog that is Trans-positive to reference but again my readership is so small I’ll hardly make an impact on said algorithms.

This brings me back to the same issue. We all get our information from one another. We have to seek out other trans people who are similar to us enough we can hope their experience should align somewhat with ours. Unfortunately this is bad science. It’s more or less trial and error. Which means we are all ourselves guinea pig who are experimenting upon ourselves. The issue here is again there are no scientific studies follow or tracking our progress. Our testimonials are anecdotal and unreliable at best. This puts us at further risk because we are essentially putting ourselves at risk despite the warnings because we desire HRT so much. The pull, the call to change our genders to match our internal feelings is so strong being unable to receive this care causes us intense mental health issues.

You can tell cis people all day long how difficult it is to not get access to HRT. Often times we do this expecting that if we point out how deadly it is to withhold care they will have sympathy and be more supportive to allow us to get access to this care. However when you have those who don’t care about our health and safety it doesn’t matter if withholding healthcare leads to our suicides because they see that in and of itself a victory, one less tranny in the world for them to worry about I guess.

This doesn’t mean everyone is so callous. I know there are some who have religious hang ups who don’t understand the mental anguish our gender dysphoria can cause us. Some of these people do care about us but they don’t understand why lack of care leads to our suicides. They think it’s selfish or over dramatic to take your life because you can’t transition. One thing we need to do better, all trans people and trans allies, is sharing our personal stories. Our struggles absolutely can impact other peoples lives. We can’t change their minds if we don’t take the time to share with them why it’s so important to us.

As much as we don’t want to see gender dysphoria as a mental health disease, there are times where it is beneficial for us to cling to the fact it is regarded as a mental health condition that can be diagnosed.

This is where one aspect of the gate keeping could actually benefit us in the long term. By diagnosing us as having a mental health condition, I use condition rather than disorder intentionally, this puts in on the level of anxiety, depression and PTSD, topics people are increasingly aware of and familiar with. If you remind your uneducated friends that your gender dysphoria diagnosis is no different in terms of medical treatment as depression they might be more open minded to allowing trans people access to HRT.

Our long term goal is to get to the point where those who want HRT can just get it no questions asked.

We shouldn’t need a diagnosis and we shouldn’t have to jump through hoops. As it stands we are living in a system that has no room for us. The system is not designed to allow for individuals that don’t fit the stereotypes. The social norms we as trans people push back against because conformity causes us intense mental anguish. This is why we try so hard to enact change that will make gaining access easier.

I have found that telling people a licensed phycologist diagnosed me with gender dysphoria has helped some soften their anti-trans stance. It has been a somewhat effective method for opening a dialogue with those who otherwise would have been closed off entirely. This is a double-edged sword. Gate keeping in this manner prevents us from doing proper scientific studies that will demonstrate the effects and risks more accurately. On the other hand requiring us to get a diagnosis from a trusted mental health profession does at the very least put some weight behind the need for us to obtain the care we deserve. This is why having said letter is enough to help courts decide to offer us our name and gender changes when we apply.

We want to get to a place where self-reporting is sufficient. Until then I believe we need to work within the limits of the system, as much as we can, to further our cause. Eventually if we tell enough people our stories the word will get out, attitudes will change, and we’ll become normalized. Yes, this takes time and many of us are going to struggle and die as a result. I cry every night for the trans lives lost to this broken system. If you aren’t crying over that yourself I question your empathy. None of this is to say we can use other more assertive means to enact change then by all means we are fighting a war and we’re all soldiers whether we like it or not.

Why your opinion doesn’t bother me

I don’t seek the approval of others. Contrary to how I am often perceived due to my diplomatic, at times, nature I come across as one who bends over backwards for others. This, in reality, is far from the truth. Rather I am one who goes out of my way to be myself and generally speaking gives little care to what others think of me.

This is how I learned to survive. Yes, I have had to blend in with my surroundings as that is human nature. The outcast doesn’t get very far in life. So I have had to navigate social circles I wasn’t invested in to achieve my own goals. I set out to understand the needs of my peers, exchanged whatever it was they required to form bonds, and received that which I was after before severing ties as needed with those I had nothing in common with.

At times this comes off as selfish or cold. Perhaps it is to an extent. But survival is inherently selfish in nature. The lion doesn’t ask its prey politely can I chew on your neck if I give your kids a toy to play with? No the lion grabs a weaker animal and chows down, for it’s own survival. Likewise the prey with antlers doesn’t ask the lion for permission to slice said lions throat with it’s sharp head-weapons. It does so for it’s own survival. Humans are a part of nature. We are animals. Those who transcend the laws of nature are only fooling themselves. This is a big part of who I am. I am a survivor. I sometimes have to eat meat. I sometimes have to cut the attackers throat. I sometimes have to push a toxic person away from me and I sometimes have to swallow my pride to let someone make decisions for me while I bide my time. All of these are survival skills I learned over the years.

This is not just an LGBT trait or even a trait of the minority in a land. It is how we all survive. The strongest humans form societies that others flock to for protection. Those who don’t blend into those cultural constructs are forced to find their own spaces. Sometimes they have to be stealth. Pretending to be something or like something for the sake of getting ahead.

What is the point? Listen, I don’t always tell people what they want to hear so if you have an expectation I will only say things you like, be prepared to be sorely disappointed. I don’t go out of my way to harm others, in fact I often find myself in the role of protector even though I am not always equipped to do so. My point is if I say something that offends you or you can’t comprehend, let it go and move on. I don’t worry about what other people think. I am absolutely going to wear those who block me as a badge of honor. It tells me I spoke my mind unhindered and those who couldn’t handle what I had to say withdrew from me. I have done the same and expect nothing less than such.

If you offend me welcome to ban town, where I can move on with my life unscathed. This is not to say I don’t care about people, I do, but in the broadest sense I care about individuals, not the group as a whole. I care about my friends, family and those who can’t take care of themselves. I care about nature, which includes animals the rocks and the elements.

I care about this planet. I try to be respectful to the thing that gives me life and a home. I care not for those who don’t see me as valid or who justify harming others, including nature. If you harm the water, I care nothing for you. If you harm the sky, I care nothing for you, if you harm the trees around you, I care nothing for you.

You don’t have to justify yourself because you won’t win my approval. And that’s the key. I don’t want your approval. I sure as hell wouldn’t expect you to want mine. Unless you are someone I care about or are some I am close to, your opinions, regardless of how vile they may be, hold no power over my life.