I want this site to be a “safe space” for all

Some facebook site linked to me yesterday I guess because I got way more traffic than usual … sometimes I can’t tell if they are pro-trans or right wing sites or whatever that link … and it is hard to gauge by comments.  I got a few comments on my site yesterday (it has been a long time since that happened) and it is nice to have some interest around here but I have to say that reading some of them DID make me feel a bit uneasy. It is like the comments, when they get going on my site … become this other entity unto themselves separate from what I am trying t do here.

I really do believe that there is a way that we can talk about these difficult issues without further stigmatizing Trans people.  I have said this before, but I have a lot of Trans friends.  I think it is unfair to say that all Trans people are delusional. More than that, I believe it is untrue.

In every post that I have written, even though I am critical of a lot of things within the Trans movement, I always strive to be respectful towards Trans people.  It was that way since day one.  I think I have done a pretty good job. Have I always gotten it right?  No.  But I am open to learning.

I want this to be a safe space for all. I don’t want to use triggering language. I don’t want to demean people or their lifestyles where they are not doing harm to others. I do want to continue to critical of things that I think are wrong, but looking more at broken systems or challenging paradigms that may not be as helpful as was once thought.  I am going to be doing this mindfully and in a way that respects all.  If someone comes here I don’t want them to be unnecessarily made more anxious or fearful than when they came to this site.  That is the opposite of what this site is about.   But I do want people to think.

I am holding back on publishing some of the comments today and I will start being more careful about what I let through. I don’t want conversation to spiral into vitriol.  Maybe that means nobody will comment here … so be it. I do want to see conversation going forward on this topic, at least in this space of my blog, as having the civility and respect for diversity that I am drawn to in the conversations I engage in in the “real world”.

I am considering other changes to this site as well in terms of content featured.  If you have any thoughts feel free to let me know.

…..

Last weekend sucked … let’s have a better one this time around. Don’t stop living.  I like light and lightness … in these times more than ever.   If you are in Hillcrest tomorrow night maybe I’ll see you at the Trans Day of Remembrance.

 

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Comments

  1. lee says

    You say you want this to be a safe place for all, and then you let through a comment which starts with: “The cis female body is as much worth celebrating as cancer. Sadly enough, most Cis women are masochists…” — I’ve emjoyed and respected your blog up to now, but what the fuck???

    • Joel Nowak says

      Sorry, you are right in that I probably should not have let that comment go without commenting on it (in my reply I was concentrating on a few of the many things that person got wrong … mainly things that had to deal directly with me … I should have been more mindful about the impact on OTHERS as well.) I am sorry that comment was offensive to you. For the record, I think ALL of our bodies are worth celebrating AS THEY ARE. That is something I hope people realize and one of the biggest problems I see with TRANS … this idea that natural bodies are bad and inferior to ideas of what a body should be that some plastic surgeon puts forth, based on his (and it is usually HIS … I am gendering this correctly I think) own aesthetics, skill level and what is possible to do (while maintaining adequate profit margins.) The comment was coming from the perspective of an FTM and the loathing of the female body was perhaps not necessarily surprising given the context.

      My bad. Once again, sorry.

      • lee says

        It just really shocked me. I was feeling safe here; have read a number of your posts; liked what you posted on this one. Then… I went to the comment section and the first thing I read compared a woman’s body to cancer. It was like a blow between the eyeballs. I appreciate your apology for letting it go through, and your comments about it which put it into perspective. It is very, very sad how women hate their bodies. Our mainstream culture teaches all women and young girls to hate themselves, and so many get body dysmorphia due to those societal messages. It is to weep.

        As for your blog, and some of the new traffic you are getting: I did a google search a few days or so ago (a week?) on detransitioning, and found you on about the seventh google page. I’ve been posting links to your articles on a number of facebook communities I belong to, and others are reading them and passing them along. I think you have some important stuff to say, and from what I have read so far you say it well. Thank you.

        • Joel Nowak says

          It is a weird balance because so much of this conversation (if it is to be had) is going to OFFEND someone. If I try to add a disclaimer to everything what I actually do have to say is going to be unintelligible, and if I hold comments back that might offend there will be even fewer comments here. But that is not to say I need to give up … actually far from it. I have a sense of what I think deserves comment or deserves to not even be published. I am still figuring things out and sometimes I miss things as well. I definitely look for others to enlighten me when I do get it wrong (which hopefully is not TOO often.)

          So you are behind that mysterious facebook traffic that I sometimes see the last few weeks. I wondered a bit about that … when that happens it is sometimes hard to tell why someone is linking to me. Sometimes I can tell by analyzing the traffic (i.e. what articles they go to, how long they stay and especially if I get any comments … natch!) Are they people linking to me because I fit an “agenda”? Or are they so outraged by what I have written that I am an exemplar of all that is wrong in the world? I love a mystery sometimes (but I can be damn curious too!)

          Thanks for letting people know about my site and I am glad you like some of what I am writing. This site gets VERY little traffic. If I am not too active anywhere from 25-50 people stop by every day (and until last week the vast majority of that traffic was to a guest post that HAD been on my site that I didn’t even write.)

          I did try writing a lot more over the summer to try to be consistent but even then it was only 60-120 people that would stop by. But numbers aren’t everything and as long as people know I am here (and I think SOME do) if this site helps that just one person who comes by who needs it that day, I am happy and I have done my job. Thanks again for your feedback … I do welcome it (not just from you but anyone else reading this) and thanks for letting people know about me … of course it is appreciated.

          • lee says

            Well, maybe now you will be more sensitive to women-hating comments. If the person had just been speaking for themselves that would have been one thing, but they worded their hateful comments as being a universal thing, and they were extremely GROSS! Men need to learn to respect women more, which is one of the reasons I don’t accept some transwomen– they are still misogynistic assholes. They may claim to be women, but they haven’t left the patriarchy behind so they are invading women’s spaces with their male attitudes. And, women who transition to men take on these hateful attitudes towards women. Until the trans community learns to be a lot less misogynistic there will always be problems.

            As for how long I have been here and reposting some of your posts, about a week, but I’ve been sharing a number of them. The one about your therapist being shot has gotten some comments where I am posting. The man who originated the Trans Day of Remembrance wrote a eulogy to the *murderer* and blamed your therapist for her own death. That tells me one more time that the trans community really doesn’t look at the hypocrisy within it. For the same person to have done both is outrageous to me.

            As for my own self: I have been an activist in the lesbian community since the mid 1970s, and have been friends with people who have transitioned as far back as the 1970s. Both the transwomen whom I knew in 1970 and 1980 (two different women) had surgery. One of them was a friend of my then-husband, and had known him all through high school; my ex was a big man and helped fight bullies off of her when she was still male, so she was friendly to both him and I. She and I shared a gynecologist so I saw her in the waiting room often (I was pregnant, so lots of appointments). The woman I knew in the 80s was a much closer relationship, and I did not know she was trans until much later, several years. She was a Wiccan High Priestess, and she passed completely.

            I am also an old hippie, and so I have embraced trans fluidity for over forty years. But, recently I got attacked and kicked out of a community I was in because I stumbled in my “political correctness”. Apparently, to some, for me to say that I support trans-fluidity, and (I still don’t understand this part) that I like Dr. Frank-n-Furter is to be transphobic and bullying. To be labeled transphobic when I have done a lot of work in the trans-fluid movement, and have served as a religious counselor to transfluid people who remember and appreciate me years later, hurt a hel a lot. So, I started researching the issue and — in my absence as I haven’t been any part of the lesbian community for over eight years now — I now discover that there is a real McCarthyism stating what one can and cannot speak about, and to cross that boundary is to come under severe attack. It’s been a long three weeks since this shit hit the fan in my life.

            • Joel Nowak says

              Hi thank you for sharing all of this. Yes there sure is a lot of misogyny within some sectors of the trans community. Yes it is upsetting. And it can be so pervasive that it becomes almost background noise (along with conceits such as “cis”) within a lot of trans conversations. Thank you for reminding me to always be mindful of it. With my therapist from almost 20 years ago, I think you are referring to an article in Tapestry and I have been angered by it for all these years. Saddly, there were even worse examples of the same thing (dehumanising Rita and blaming her for BOTH deaths) said by other people that floated around mailing lists at the time. I have held on to a few of them but they are too vile and upsetting to publish here. I am sure reading all of this stuff at the time had SOME impact on the journey that lay ahead for me and where I ended up.

              I am on tight deadline with schoolwork tonight so I have to stop for now but I have a few other thoughts I will try to get to soon. It does feel a hell of a lot like Joseph McCarthy in drag sometimes doesn’t it? (Yikes… now there is an image!)

  2. Wherewillitend? says

    I can understand why AMABs who go through SRS would hate their new junk. The cis female body is as much worth celebrating as cancer. Sadly enough, most Cis women are masochists…think about it: painful porking, no orgasm, bleeding, cancer, painful undergarments, monthly symptoms, unwieldy fat, autoimmune diseases, drooping udders, walking victims for rapists, holes waiting to be used by predators, passive and depressive making hormones, vomiting for nine months, excavating a pumpkin, growing eight pound tumors, muscular inferiority, etc etc etc.

  3. Wherewillitend? says

    Happy to see a Stereolab fan here. But it saddens me to realize that as an AMAB gay man, you think of dysphoric (since my first memory) AFAB trans men who happen to want to partner with other gay/bi men (and never been attracted to straight men) as “straight women”. Can you even imagine that after t, top surgery, and phalloplasty as well as a stone top sexuality and a stealth life that my feminine AMAB gay male partner sees me as a guy with a birth defect? Or are you really going to insist that I have no right calling myself a gay man and should “detransition” and try to be what I never was, i.e. a straight “woman”? I’d sooner have offed myself, and given that this is the TDoR, I’d hope you would understand how serious I am.

    • Joel Nowak says

      Hey thanks for writing. You have made some assumptions about me and my site and I want to clear up a few of them. (You are correct though about me being a fan of the ‘lab … mainly their earliest stuff. I loved that circa 1992 “hipster” audience in that video!)

      This site is not about telling people to detransition. It never was and it never will be. To be honest for most trans people I know I think this would be a bad idea. I think that some people who identify as trans MAY come to a point where they are dissatisfied with their original transition (for whatever reason) and are feeling stuck. That is where I was and that is primarily what this site is about. I think we spend too much time labeling people and trying to force them into boxes. Quite often we all too willingly try to find boxes (sometimes quite restrictive boxes) to try to jam our own selves into … all with our own free will and and volition. Just as an FYI I personally would never call you a straight woman … that is kind of laughable to me. I am glad you did what you needed to do to stay in this world … that is the main thing. I am glad you are here. And it sounds like you have found a loving partner who feels the same way. That’s what it is all about in the end, isn’t it? Please stay strong and be well. “Don’t walk away…”

  4. Gregory Smith says

    Joel, I kinda expected that would be your answer. If I wanted to start my website, I would have. But, your domain name implies a certain message; unless your just using the data points here for your grand dissertation in school? The audience that is drawn to you; are the very same individuals that have looked to Walt and TWT for answers. If you get some outliers that appear to be happy with their transition; I’m not entirely sure why they’re here. Either they have a motive or they’re really not all that happy with their new equipment. So, I’m pretty certain, you don’t run the risk of offending anyone voluntarily. And I’m certain The Advocate didn’t attack you, because the Editors and writers didn’t have anything better to do. They did it, because you, I and the others that detransition/retransition disturb their carefully planned social agenda to normalize a disease. If I’m all wrong about your intent, change the domain name to I love my vagina but I live as a Man.org

    Gregory Smith

    • Joel Nowak says

      Well I obviously disagree. And I also know you won’t do your own site … that is why you come here and keep on trying to turn me into you and fly into a rage when I am not. I believe this kind of negativity is toxic for all. I am not going to have it here anymore. Some things have changed for me in the past few months in terms of what I will tolerate and how I engage in this conversation. And if it alienates me from some of the few people who actually read this blog I don’t really care. Pleasing them (you) is simply not worth it to me.

      • Gregory Smith says

        Forgive me Joel, I keep forgetting you live in “touchy-feely” California and you have future client$ you don’t want to insult or alienate. Have a nice day.

        Gregory

        • Joel Nowak says

          Nope. I am just through with putting up with this kind of bullshit. I have seen what it does to people. I don’t want any part of it. Goodbye Gregory.

  5. Gregory Smith says

    Joel, I might have given you credit way too soon? But, it is your site and you can pack up your toys and go home whenever you want. I just wish you’d pick a side. Your always dancing around the issues; so afraid to offend someone.
    Look we detransitioned because we realized we made a mistake, we realized it didn’t make us the Women we thought we were in our delusional minds. And you started this site, I had assumed to share that message; otherwise you could just spend your time on Susan’s telling the world how happy you are being a Female. But, you didn’t do that. And that’s certainly not your audience here. I found you after tiring of Walt’s approach to my regret. Maybe I made a mistake coming here? That “safe place” I thought you had created; was a place I knew I was not alone in the world. And that there were other post-op people feeling just like me. And that, I was going to be okay.
    You seemed proud of your time on the Cumming’s show? While they have not physically detransitioned; they certainly share my viewpoint, that this is a sick, twisted industry playing off our delusion.
    Pick a side Joel. You can’t play the middle ground forever; or your message becomes, there is no message.

    Gregory Smith

    • Joel Nowak says

      Pick a side? See … that is not what this site has ever been about. And this site does have a message … maybe some people just refuse to hear it. I can’t help you with that one Gregory.

    • Joel Nowak says

      And just one other quick point … you have always been more than welcome to comment here. I have backed you more than you will ever realize. Along the way I have made a few requests to you (and others) about the tone of conversation so that not only you but everyone can feel safe. Every time you either ignore or castigate me for making these requests. You have a lot of important and well thought-out stuff to say that I think is right on the money … if you are so encumbered by my comment policy why don’t you start your own site where you will have absolutely free editorial reign? (Seriously, I am sure it will get WAY more traffic than this site ever will.) We are very different Gregory, but I do feel for what you are going through. I want to help however I can, without compromising my own personal values. I believe it is possible … your mileage may vary.

    • juniper says

      I don’t think this blog is about “picking sides.” I think it is about educating people that there are many different ways to live well if one’s sex is not aligned with social stereotypes of gender.

      This blog can provide a place to educate people and inform them of the reality that hormones and surgeries can be dangerous/life-threatening and that they may not deliver the “cure” for body/gender dysphoria, (and that HRT and surgeries may actually cause needless suffering to many people [especially if they have the misfortune of meeting an unscrupulous or negligent medical practitioner.])

      This site can provide information, hope and support for people who wish to re-tranisition or are uncertain if they want to pursue/continue a physical “transition” with HRT and/or surgery. This is also a good resource for people who are gender variant but who are comfortable with their bodies or who choose to leave their body as it is despite experiences of dysphoria.

      There are many people (like myself,) who want to connect with a community of people who do not restrict themselves to stereotypical binary gender roles and narrow definitions of what a man or woman should be. There are many people who do not adhere to gender standards or meet social expectations for their sex yet do NOT identify as transgender.

      This blog is a safe place for anyone who is exploring what their gender and sex means to them, is seeking information on re-transitoning. It is also a supportive site for anyone who wants to learn more about living authentically, in a healthy way that supports free-thinking, individualism and wellness.

      Joel can correct me if i am wrong, but I am fairly certain that he is working to create a site that is compassionate, informative and helpful as opposed to one that is divisive.

      • Joel Nowak says

        Juniper … I couldn’t have said it better really. I do know there are a few people out there who understand what I am trying to do here. Thanks for putting it so eloquently.

        • Sceptical says

          Interestingly, I am in at least partial agreement with almost everyone here…just not all the time. I will try to address Gregory’s comment first. I am that “outlier” that in the vast majority of instances does not meet most people’s expectations. For one thing I am more that “happy” with my “new equipment”. I also have a “motive” for being here and I suspect it closely parallels Joel’s but from a radically different perspective.

          My position is really quite simple. My issue is with the diagnostic/evaluative process; what used to be called “gatekeeping”. I also have a major issue with those who think and argue that sex and gender are interchangeable and equivalent terms. Although I realize that many ‘transgender’ people have many different motivations for what they do, I do not agree that they do it with malicious intent but rather for reasons of their own psychological survival. In this case I agree with Joel. ‘Bashing’ them or mis-gendering them, does nothing but distract from the conversation.

          “There are many people who do not adhere to gender standards or meet social expectations for their sex yet do NOT identify as transgender. ”

          Yup. That is me.

Hi, diverse opinions are welcome here I just ask that comments be on topic. Also, if you are posting anonymously please know that sharing your opinions is more helpful to this site than sharing unverifiable life experience or identities