Friday, 22 March 2013

Confessions, pt. I

I'm not going to put this on the Dickinson "confession" page, since I don't need to be anonymous because I'm not scared.

I dislike it when people assume that I am a white, heterosexual, cis-gendered male, and really dislike when they assume I have what is commonly referred to as "white privilege."

I don't care to go into much detail on this point, so I'll just say it now - I am a feminist. Got it? Good. :)

I'm white, that's obvious. I'm Saxon, though, not Caucasian. In terms of recent heritage, calling all white people "Caucasian" is like calling all black people "African."* My ancestors didn't come from the Caucasus region. They came from Saxony. A really long time ago, if you want to go way back, I suppose they were likely some kind of Goth culture, and probably mingled and/or fought with the Celts, who also make up a small part of my ancestry. I don't really know. I am fascinated with genealogy and the like, but haven't researched my own history prior to roughly 1702. But I'm not Caucasian.

I'm queer. I'm in a relationship with a female, but I am not heterosexual! Being queer unfortunately still serves to effectively eliminate much of what people believe are afforded the "typical" American white male. I can marry my current partner**, sure, but I am equally likely to be attracted to someone of the same biological sex, and wish to marry them*** - which presently would be denied outright in the vast majority of the United States, including my home state, which once again is planning to put forth a bill defining marriage, which is completely unconstitutional!

I don't check the box for "M" when asked my "gender" and given only two choices, because I refuse to have anybody tell ME how to identify. If they ask for my sex, then yes, it is "M," as there are only two biological sexes. Nature would not work otherwise. A person is either biologically male or biologically female.**** Fun fact: in utero, we all start out female. That's why men have nipples, you know. "Gender" is a social construct. It is useful, but it's entirely artificial all the same. I happen to identify as androgynous or gender-queer. This doesn't have anything to do with my physical appearance, which happens to be rather masculine (though not overtly so, thankfully). It's how I feel about myself. I do not want to be a masculine man! It feels wrong to me. Additionally, I don't want to be a female. I sometimes act more feminine and display feminine traits, but I do not believe I am trapped in the wrong body.

Fun fact (again): Some people are annoyed or confused by it, but I really like seeing people whose gender identity and/or biological sex is indeterminate! I love the mystery and the immense self-confidence it takes to express it in public (see: any Pride festival). My girlfriend happens to look very feminine and act like a girl and dress like a girl. Luckily she's not a super-girly-girl. She's very low-key. She's obviously female and I find her extremely attractive. There's plenty mysterious about her anyway. XD

And my goodness, people, I'm not upper class. I act it because I went to a prep school with primarily upper-class people. I shouldn't act like it anymore, because let's be honest, I live in cow country and drive a (used) 2008 TrailBlazer that needs a lot of work because I can't afford a car of my own.

I'm not "rich." If I had gone to public school and subsequently attended a public university or community college, I still wouldn't be "rich." This is, of course, presuming you mean "rich" in terms of PPP, or "purchasing power parity," which is for our intents and purposes synonymous with "cash on hand." I have three siblings. We happen to have all attended private schools our whole lives. Why? Well, lots of reasons. For one, it is my parents' choice. Two, my father attended the school that my brothers and I attended, so he knew it would be a high-quality education.

Three, we were thoroughly unimpressed with our local school district when we moved here fifteen years ago and, to be honest, we still don't much fancy it. If anything, it's gotten worse. I happen to know the district high school is rife with drugs, both use and sale thereof, and I'm not just talking soft stuff like marijuana and benzodiazepines. For two, there's a shit ton of bullying, and we are all atypical and therefore targets. My brother is now an athlete, but he used to be an overweight butterball. He would have been fucking tortured. My other brother has ADD and plays the cello and guitar and is involved with the VEX robotics team. Besides the fact he wouldn't have those opportunities at a public school, he would have been bullied incessantly for not being athletic. None of us would have gotten any kind of special accommodations for our various learning disabilities. We would have been forgotten and blended in to the crowd and done very poorly academically as a result.

Then there's me. I have Asperger's Syndrome, or AS, a form of high-functioning autism that would essentially put the finishing touches on the bullseye drawn on me by everything else about me that is different. I could never have come out at a public school. I would fear for my life. It was bad enough coming out at The Haverford School. It wasn't much easier being out at Dickinson, but for different reasons.


I was miserable at Dickinson College. I was worse off there than I was at The Haverford School, and that's the truth. The people at Dickinson treated me terribly - professors and students alike, though mostly the latter - and I ended up retreating into a shell and simply not going to classes because I mentally could not stomach it. I also couldn't sleep or wake up like a normal person, and that still hasn't been fixed.

Let me go on record now as saying the following:
  • I have had nothing but positive interactions with the administrative staff of Dickinson College. Stop making people like Dan Confer and Tim Poirier the butt of jokes and target of criticism. Let's see you do their jobs better!
  • The Disability Services department is outstanding and whatever you are paying people like Marni Jones, it isn't enough.
  • Accepting a bid from and subsequently pledging and becoming a brother of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity (Theta Lambda chapter) together constitute what I truly believe to be among the best life choices I have ever made.
  • There is a lot of potential for Spectrum and the Feminist Collective to be major forces for good and positive change on campus and even in the broader Carlisle community, but they are being held back by an unfortunately large amount of members who simply must get off their high horses and regain an appreciation for logic and reason as well as rational debate. If I don't entirely agree with you, that doesn't mean I am against you. Grow up. Someday you will realize that it's people like you who actually harm the queer rights and feminist movements, respectively, because no one will take seriously somebody who is entirely convinced of their own inherent superiority.
  • If you complain about the food in the cafeteria, you better have your own personal chef and butler back home, or else you are (not sound like, are) a whiny, spoiled, sheltered little kid. It's one thing to say mom's cooking is better. I'd hope so, since mom doesn't have to prepare institutional-sized meals three times a fucking day. It's another to say "I pay $56K a year and this is what they feed me?" If you can afford the meal plan, you can definitely afford to simply buy and prepare (that means cook) your own food. Protip: I'm pretty sure that will actually be cheaper than a meal plan.
  • Girls, please stop assuming that men are all rapists. Just please, for your own sanity and our dignity, just stop. Wear whatever clothing you want. Just know that all people will judge by appearances regardless. Sorry, that's life. Wearing a super-short skirt doesn't mean you're "asking for it," obviously, but it does mean that you are comfortable with your body and want to show it off. Now, answer me this: are you trying to make other girls jealous, or do you want guys to notice you? Be honest. You can't dress like a "slut" (read: deliberately showing off your body, which is not bad, really, trust me, it's great) and then complain about men/people just wanting you for your body. In a loud, crowded room, I'm not going to notice your personality, and I probably won't even hear you if you're talking. I'm just gonna see DAT ASS and DEM TITTIES and suchlike. That doesn't mean I instantly want to fuck you. It doesn't mean that to any man unless he is what we call "immoral," meaning he believes women are inferior and can simply be "taken" and "used" for one's pleasure. Those people are called "rapists" and they are felons. The one kind of inmate the other inmates hate...yep, you guessed it. 
  • On that note, most rapes aren't reported. That is sad. Stand up for yourselves. There are so many resources available to help you. You are not alone and you do not deserve to be a victim. Nobody does. But only you can take the first step towards ceasing to be a victim and becoming a survivor.
  • Guys, people wouldn't think we're all rapists if we toned it down a bit. Seriously, stop acting like a deprived animal. Have some self-respect. While you're at it, have some respect for women! As I literally just said, they aren't dressing sexily to give you the green light. And if that is their purpose, trust me, they will let you know one way or another. 
  • Please stop buying kegs of Natural Light. It is ridiculously fucking stupid for people to stand around at a party and talk almost exclusively about how bad it tastes. A keg of Yuengling is literally $20 to $40 dollars more expensive at the most. Plus, if you are known as "the people who have good beer," well, you know...
  • Putting Vladimir brand vodka through a Brita filter several times doesn't work, sorry people. 
  • I wish I had stayed at Dickinson, I truly do.


* Lots of Caribbean people are black. Some of them are darker-skinned than many "black people" in the United States. Some Hispanic people look "black" but you wouldn't call them "African-Americans," you'd call them "Dominican" or "Honduran" or "Haitian" and so on and so forth as the case may be.

** Legally, I can't, yet, without parental consent. We'll both be 21 come July, at which point it is legal to obtain a marriage license and legal civil union independently of parents/guardians.

*** I am pansexual, meaning I can find anybody attractive sexually and emotionally and everything in between. But that doesn't mean I want to fuck every person I see (in fact I find most people decidedly unattractive) - and it certainly doesn't mean I could leave my girlfriend at any time for somebody else! I wouldn't let go of her for the world. 

**** People are very rarely born with ambiguous genitalia. It's a very exceedingly rare genetic malfunction. They are no less healthy than anybody else, but determining their sex is entirely up to them and is often a very sensitive subject.