new song: “3Jane”

Lyrics

Growing a new philosophy
is it grand design, or subtle folly?
The serpent was anything but…
…but this was an engineered forest,
its fruit a postmodern delight

Recording

Explanation

Wrote this sometime in the late 1990’s while working through my gender dysphoria (and identity and bipolar disorder in general) as a young adult. It is about humanity’s ability to hack everything, including our bodies. Changing one’s sex is a postmodern experience from a certain point of view, and it might be complete folly (but I don’t think so).

Artifact is nature.

I think starting my life as a man and becoming a woman at 39 was by God’s design. Don’t think any serpents are whispering in my ear.

Live Performance

numb penis

To prepare for gender affirmation surgery, I’m having hair removed from my testes and penile shaft through electrolysis. To manage pain, I numb the area prior to each session using tetracaine.

I like having a numb penis. Then I can’t feel a part of my body that I don’t particularly want, don’t feel particularly attached to.

transgender people love

Lost in the ongoing ecclesiastical debate about whether transgender identities hold validity in the eyes of God [1] are interactions between (cisgender) Christian thinkers and transgender individuals themselves, particularly those of faith.

Many faith-leaders and Christian scholars intellectualize us into sub-humanity:  Their idea is that God made humans male and female strictly in God’s own image and that to be fully human therefore requires full embrace of one or the other polarity, the polarity matching one’s genitals. (We are ignoring the intersex population in this argument for convenience–however the body of Christ will have to come to terms with intersex individuals’ existence too). Because transgender individuals cannot live healthy lives under the constraint of this particular sex/gender model—a model believed quintessential to the construction of a human by many Christian thinkers, we are regarded as having rejected God’s gift of humanity.



However, one knows a tree by its fruit [2]:

God gave humans the ability to love. And transgender people love. We love deeply. We love just as much as as cisgender people.

The fruit therefore is the love produced, and only a human can produce it.

It follows then that we fully received the gift of humanity.

References

  1. https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/transgender-issues-next-battle-culture-wars
  2. Matthew 12:33 (NIV)

the real reason I live in an RV

Not paranoid, just a student of history.

Even CNN and President Obama are concerned about the development of authoritarianism in this country [1]. That is saying something.

I don’t just live in an RV to save money or live portably. (Both good things in my ethos).

I live in an RV primarily so I can flee to Canada or Mexico if things get bad for transgender people in the United States.

Berlin in the 1920’s welcomed transgender individuals to some extent. The city served as a hotbed of transgender medical research. By the 1930’s the Nazis started arresting LGBT people.

I do not trust the “religious” right. They do not understand Christianity. They do not know Christ. Pharisees, the lot of them. Given power they would lock me up or execute me.

I do not trust current trends to protect my liberty. While I 100% trust and expect California to intervene on my behalf, a U.S. state can only do so much.

Going to stash money in the Royal Bank of Canada soon, in case my U.S. assets are frozen.

I’ve memorized the highways to Canada so I can turn off my smart phone if I flee. (To prevent tracking). Already know how to drive to Mexico from where I live.

Keep my RV in good repair for sudden travel, with my propane tanks and battery array full. Keep the fuel tank in my truck at least half full.

See Also

RV chic

References

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/09/opinions/obama-hitler-germany-democracy-warning-ben-ghiat-opinion/index.html

Thermo Fisher: ten years at an uncommonly fabulous company

Many laid-off employees trash their former employer. But my decade at Thermo Fisher stands as one of the richest experiences of my life, despite significant challenges along the way. So I want to remind current Thermo Fisher employees and leadership what they can take pride in:

Exceptional Handling of my On-the-Job Gender Change

I joined the company at the Austin site as “Daniel Edmund Williams” and left from the Carlsbad site as “Emily Marie Williams”. No easy feat.

The (public) transition took place one year into my tenure at the Carlsbad site. My colleagues there embraced my chosen identity completely. Sure there were a few initial hiccups in name and pronoun use, but those faded quickly. No one fussed about the bathrooms or showers.

Yes, a few folks were uncomfortable at first. I took them to lunch. I turned the other cheek. They came around.

Thermo Fisher employees and leadership can therefore take pride in their openness.

HR

Thermo Fisher’s HR department knows what they did for me, along with the challenges I faced. These stories are of course not for public consumption.

I thank them for all their tremendous support. I thank them for all the collaborative problem-solving and for delivering substantial grace.

Thermo Fisher employees and leadership can therefore take pride in their Human Resources Department.

Learned to “Manage Up”

Working at a large corporation for a decade usually means reporting to multiple bosses. Most managed exceptionally well, a few struggled. One was downright abusive. Immersed in this environment, I became skilled at collaborative problem-solving and team-centered idea promotion, skills I’m extremely thankful for.

I also learned how to stand up to the abusive boss—proudly setting an example for my less experienced colleagues.

Company employees and leadership can therefore (mostly) take pride in their management.

Learned to Manage (Down)

An intern reported to me one summer, allowing me to develop my talents at management. While no one specifically coached me on management skills during this period, the many good (and a few bad) management examples set around me directed my compass.

Acquired Technical Skills and Sharpened my Business Acumen

Immediately following my layoff last July I founded Whole-Systems Enterprises, Inc. Employing all the data science skills I learned at Thermo Fisher, we are developing and optimizing day-trading algorithms. We are also selling bioinformatics and data science consulting services. My experience at Thermo Fisher made this possible.

Thermo Fisher employees and leadership can therefore take pride in their technical development.

Why Am I Saying All This?

This blog, and the book I’m writing based on it, covers transgender issues. Employment is a major transgender issue, not just during the public act of transition but encompassing the whole life experience of work. I wanted to celebrate an organization that is getting it right.

The whole proves greater than the sum of its parts.

“distorted and out of tune” – a troll (sort of) gets it

I received the following response from a troll regarding music [4] I released recently:

The music is “distorted” and dissonant—and would sound “out of tune” to many who lack musical sophistication. That is intentional. A compositional choice.

And the dissonance intentionally speaks to the experience of feeling “out of tune” as a transgender person. So our troll is correct in his surface interpretation of the music.

But he fails to see where the problem lies. I assume that his interpretation is that the transgender person is “sick” in some way, compared to some standard of wellness that he and most individuals presumably meet.

But the transgender person is actually fine biologically and psychologically, as I’ve demonstrated in my scientific articles [1, 2, and 3]. So the problem emits from living within an unsupportive and hostile environment. This experience causes sickness in all individuals—a feature of being human, not a trait specific to the transgender population.

I sing these songs today so that transgender folks among future generations need not feel “distorted and out of tune”.

About “Axis Evil”

I perform as “Axis Evil“, the musical arm of my outreach work. Please follow the feed on Facebook and Twitter.

Update 20 November 2017

I further discuss the dissonant and distorted features of my music as it pertains to the transgender experience in my March 2017 post “this is transgender music”, which goes into far more detail than this text does.

References

  1. the science of gender identity (part 1: genetics)
  2. the science of gender identity (part 2: brain anatomy)
  3. the science of gender identity (part 3: psychology)
  4. the music discussed above:

lyrics: “Smelly Cunt”

I referred to this song in my recent post “a smelly cunt and a mission from God“, so provide the lyrics here. The piece comes from my debut album “City of God“. The post “this is transgender music” offers a detailed explanation of the lyrics.

Recording

Lyrics

I’ve never had a smelly cunt
but I still fear men in the dark
I’ve never had a smelly cunt
but I still fear rape in the dark

its not who you fuck
its not a caste, not abstraction
there’s no release from this, no algorithm,
no relief

I’ve never had a smelly cunt
so where’s my equal pay?
I’ve never had a smelly cunt
still I’m not a part of this “club”

its social abstraction,
genetic algorithm,
brain development flux
but I know its easier for you to assume I want attention

I’ve never had a smelly cunt
and I’m a better woman than you are

lyrics: “Stand” (my loud transgender anthem)

I wrote this song immediately after North Carolina passed its infamous “bathroom bill”. From my debut album “City of God“:

Recording

Lyrics

Stand up you little chickenshit
when your chosen name is resistance
your choice to live is resistance
It’s a simple matter really
Revolution in and beyond the mind

I’m exactly who I am and I make no apologies

When your life just wants to be normal
With your name no big deal
It’s a simple request really
Acceptance in and beyond the mind
So stand up and demand it

The time is now
The times demand it

a smelly cunt and a mission from God

Yesterday I received a firm reminder of why I write this blog, and why I write the songs I do:

The message came from Drew Arriola-Sands, the fabulous singer of Trap Girl. But that is beside the point. The important thing is how she referred to me in the birthday greeting.

“Smelly Cunt” is a song I wrote about MtF transgender issues that I’ve promoted among the trans community. Drew knows my work through that promotion effort and knows the song. She knows about my efforts to bring together southern California transgender/non-binary musicians for mutual support (although she is doing a much better job of that than me as the founder of Transgress Fest).

But it’s funny that she identified me by the song. I now may never move beyond that in the punk community! Here is the tune, from my debut album “City of God”:

The lyrics respond to the declaration by some feminists that transgender women are not “real” women because we never have experienced the discomfort of a smelly vagina. I assert that we experience the same oppression under the patriarchy that cisgender women do—rape, unequal pay, etc; and therefore are in essence real woman.

But being the punk-ass I am, I use the rudest possible lyrics to express my anger and my point.

But I’m on a mission here: My music and my prose seeks to uplift our community and explore the transgender experience, at least my slice of it. Please see my post “this is transgender music”, and my introduction to this blog “about this blog and my forthcoming book” for more details of this effort.

Moreover, I see this activity as a mission from God. Last March I took a week off from work, and expressed big plans to start writing music booking software; intending to change that industry. Then I promptly injured my foot and found myself painfully bedridden for a day. While laying there bored the thought of writing this blog/book entered my mind and consumed me—as if the Universe knocked me off my feet to get my attention—to redirect my focus. Next day I started the blog and the physical pain immediately went away.

At a later date I drafted “prophet with a lowercase ‘p’”, where I outline my philosophy that activists like Gandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. express a far more prophetic role than, for example, the ancient patriarchs of the Old Testament. I argue that anyone who works for the liberation and advancement of a community lives a similarly prophetic experience.

But yesterday I found myself generally discouraged. I’m unemployed, and an employer just turned me down (after a lengthy initial interview) simply for my lack of a PhD., despite the fact that I’m beyond qualified for the job and no legal requirement mandated I hold one for the position. So Drew’s blunt birthday greeting cheered me up—reminding me what I’m really doing with my life—reminding me of my mission.

Postscript

I’m performing “Smelly Cunt” on the first night of Transgress Fest 2017 next month, along with my transgender anthem “Stand”. If you are in Southern California, please come to the show!

my obsession (part 1: introduction)

My primary obsession and my number one suicide prevention technique relate to each other.

First the suicide prevention technique: I maximize my femininity and feminine expression. Do not know why this works, because the most frequent driver of suicidal ideation for me has nothing to do with gender dysphoria (it’s heartbreak). But emphasizing femininity really works for me! My guess is that I’m more “in tune with the universe” when expressing it.

Moreover, beyond suicide prevention, I reach for happiness. Femininity proves key to achieving happiness for me. Vital. A critical path.

But this alone does not suggest any direction regarding the masculinity I retain.

However, now I will discuss my obsession: To rid myself (consciously and subconsciously) of all masculinity. Completely; leaving no trace behind.

This clashes with my conventional wisdom that all individuals channel a mix of feminine and masculine properties. I’m saying I don’t want the masculine at all. Shut that flow down!

At some level I feel that (for me) maximizing femininity requires giving up all masculinity. A zero-sum game. Reality for other people need not align with this.

This series of posts will explore the obsession and how I choose to act on it.

Update 30 September 2017

These next few paragraphs prove rather disturbing: I previously observed in “a compromise adaptation to the problem of suicidal ideation” that I experience my suicidal ideation as internal visions of stabbing my wrists or shooting myself in the head. These visions occurred at some baseline frequency even when experiencing decent mental health.

But after writing the above yesterday, things suddenly changed. I (so far) no longer have these images. But images of stabbing or cutting off my penis replaced them. (I’m NOT going to do this, by the way!). I’ve never experienced genital-targeted self-harm ideation before. Basically I’m perhaps subconsciously redirecting the “blame” for the pain I want to release away from “myself” and toward my masculine genitals—which I’m seeing more and more as separate from myself.

This last part, seeing my masculine genitals as more and more separate for myself, feels natural given that I am on track for gender affirmation surgery. For most of my post-public-transition life, I’ve not cared much what genitalia I hold, as I delivered femininity as core identity and outward presentation.

But, as per my effort to maximize my femininity to increase my happiness, and in concordance with my obsession of removing all masculinity from my life, the nature of my genitalia now matters.

the one song I kept (artistic synthesis)

I’ve released two rock albums since transitioning. Moreover, these are the only albums I’ve ever released. I wrote all the songs for these albums post-transition… except one. Here I talk about that one and why I kept it.

The song is called “Voice in the Distance” and it appears on my debut album “City of God”.

First, it makes more sense to look at the songs I left behind, rather than the one I kept. I wanted a musical reset since the emotional upheaval that accompanied my transition drove the construction of “City of God”. I developed a new sound at that time and wanted to leave my old sound behind, just like I was developing a new (public) identity and leaving my old one behind.

ASIDE: The intersection of my transgender experience and several songs on both my albums “City of God” and “Light Me Up and Love the Bomb” is explored in the post “this is transgender music” if you are interested.

So that explains why I did not keep most of my old songs. But what about “Voice in the Distance”? Why did I retain and promote it?

First and foremost, I thought it was the best song I had written pre-transition and worth preserving in an artistic sense. Moreover, it anticipated the sound I was to develop post-transition. So musically it belonged with my newer material.

Second, I did not have any subconscious association between that song and masculinity. My other pre-transition songs were written for all guy bands.

Finally, “Voice in the Distance” is a spiritual song—but not “in your face” about it—that really transcends gender. I relied on every ounce of spirituality I held to survive my transition, and so spirituality belonged on the debut album. Even the debut album’s name “City of God” is spiritual. So in that way “Voice in the Distance” looked forward in time, even though I wrote it about nine years prior to writing “Talk”, my first post-transition song.

Transition requires a life trajectory of constant evolution. This provides a wellspring of artistic material and artistic synthesis.

BTW: “Voice in the Distance” is one of my favorite pieces to perform live. First and foremost, I’m good at performing it, as I’ve played it often and had it for so many years. Also, people like it! More importantly, I enjoy playing it. The tune is complicated enough to satisfy my intellect and simple enough (for my guitar/voice skill) to perform effortlessly.

renaming my penis

Many guys name their penises. I never did until about ten years ago when my spouse at the time asked me what mine’s name is. I jokingly and instantly responded “Penelope”. What I didn’t think of until last night was the similarity between the words “Penel(ope)” and “penile”. However, I’m now working under the theory that I did make a subconscious—and rather witty—connection at the time.

So I had a girl’s name (fits who I am) for my cock, though the name has a masculine subtext in context (not a good fit). So I decided to give my penis another girl’s name, one without any subtle masculinity.

Moreover, I quickly named it “Emily” to enforce the mind-body connection. The damn thing is a part of me for now whether I like it or not, and I do gain pleasure from its use. “Emily” will undergo surgical metamorphosis soon, but I’ll keep the name.

Emily is changing. And it is good!