Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just a little off the top, please...

This will probably be just a short post.

I recently went to get a haircut. Baron (my partner) decided to surprise me with one, since I'd been complaining about looking a bit shaggy.

The lady cutting my hair was older, and I tend to worry about older stylists, because they tend to be pretty rigid when it comes to how they cut hair. I told her I didn't want a girl's haircut, I wanted a men's haircut, or a boys haircut. She didn't quite follow what i was saying, so she brought over a style book for me to look at. She flipped through "Short Hair" pictures for women, and pointed out some things she liked. I took the book from her, flipped to the back under "Men's Hair", and picked out this really cute bushy kind of trendy haircut. She kept saying "Are you sure?" and was very wary of doing what I asked her to do. In the end, I still think she played the conservative, and left the hair too long for my comfort.

I've found, as time goes on, stylists tend to be too afraid to give me, the customer, what I ask for. They don't want to cut my hair boyish, they're afraid of cutting it too short - even though I tell them that I used to shave my head, and that there's no such thing as "too short". They're afraid of jeopardizing their tip by doing something "wrong", even when that wrong is exactly what I'm asking for. Frustration abounds.

I've had it suggested to me that I go to a barber, but I've noticed that most barbers only know how to cut two styles, and I have no interest in getting a buzzcut. I don't feel the need to look like a butch lesbian marine.

Is there really something wrong with wanting a cute, trendy haircut that just happens to be in the "male" section of the style book? Seriously?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I am not my surgery!

This is a story about terminology.

Transsexual, transgender, transgenderist, crossdresser... Sometimes I think we do such a great job of dividing us into successively smaller and smaller boxes. The only thing we're succeeding at by putting people in little boxes is building walls between us all.

Why do we need these walls? Why do we feel this perpetual need to label ourselves into nonexistance? This box is "right" and that box is "wrong". Any box that isn't my box is automatically invalid. From inside my closet, your closet doesn't exist.

Does anyone other than me see the total futility in this kind of mentality?

My gender identity doesn't match my biological gender. My gender presentation doesn't match my biological gender. Does this make me less transgender than, say, the FtM with topsurgery who ops out of full SRS because the results are sub-par? Does this make me less transgender than the fully post-op MtF, complete with facial femininzation and breast augmentation?

I think not.

I refuse to let society dictate which box I place my check mark in. I'm certainly not going to allow the trans or LGB communities dictate that for me too. I am not my surgery, and my surgery (or lack thereof) is not what makes me the person I am. My genitals do not make or break my identity.

If you don't want me to judge you based on what's taking up space in your Levi's, don't judge me based on what is or isn't in mine. Society says my birth certificate, my drivers license, my legal documents must be checked M or F. What kind of people would we be if we followed the will of the government like lemmings?

Happily I will buck conformity and express Gender Anarchy. Burn down the closets, break the walls, and leave the boxes to U-Haul, because the isolation you are putting yourselves in is self-imposed. Break the shackles of gender conformity and just be you for a change, regardless of people's opinions, looks and gestures. Toss them a few colourful gestures of your own.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Keepin' it real

Ok, this might get a bit ranty, so I apologize in advance.

As of late, I've noticed a tendency for the trans community to divide itself under the notion that you are either a "real" transgender person, or you're not. By this definition, if I am not:

- Taking hormones
- Working towards surgical transition (top surgery, SRS, etc.)
- Identifying as a Transsexual
- Able to cleanly fit into the boxes of A-Male and B-Female, regardless of my present biological gender or surgical status

...then I am not a "real" transperson.

By this definition, if you identify as genderqueer, third gender, gender ambiguous, androgyne, or anywhere on the gender spectrum outside of the two poles of Male and Female, then you my friend are not a transperson.

You are:
- a drag queen/king
- a crossdresser
- a crossplayer
- confused
- doing it to get attention
- a tomboy/sissygirl
- faking it/pretending

Ok, now here's where the ranty part comes in.

I would like to know what gives someone the right, the sheer audacity, to think that they know who I am better than I do? My gender identity is no more or less valid than any other transsexual. How can you expect me to respect "the person you are inside", when you can't show me the same courtesy?

Much of the transsexual community is so caught up in the cisgender propaganda that you MUST conform to TAB A or SLOT B, with no variables in between. While they may be born in the wrong gendered body, they still confine themselves to their own true identity. That identity just happens to fit into those nice little boxes the cisgender community has designed. Like the cisgendered community, some transsexuals refuse to believe that there are gender identities that defy the polar definitions of male and female. You MUST force your peg into the square or round holes, or risk being ostracized from both the cis and trans communities.

My friends, I call bullshit.

I don't fit your clearly defined gender roles. I'm too physically masculine to be seen as fully female. I've got large breasts and a vagina, so I can't be viewed as fully male. I don't feel any connection to the identities of male or female. I am the third gender, physically, mentally, socially, in every way. Nothing you say or do will invalidate that, and if you are a transperson who attempts to take away who I am, then you are hypocrite in the truest sense of the term.

When I work towards rights and education in regards to trans issues, I'm doing so for the sake of ALL transpeople. I'm not saying "I'm only working for the HBS people" or "I'm only working for the gender fluid people". Absolutely not. Whether people like to admit it or not, we are all in this together. Setting up walls and isolating each other is simply breaking apart what strength we have in unity. This is how society will keep us down and continue to view us as some kind of freakshow.

I am as real as my cisgendered partner and my FtM friend. My thoughts, feelings and identity are just as valid as yours, regardless of my surgical or transitional status. As much as I would like to be able to fit into a neat little box, I don't, I never have and never could. Forcing me into those narrow definitions is just as confining as forcing a FtM to live their life as a woman. I would be living a lie.

If you want to be accepted as your true self, you must be equally willing to accept others who live by the same paradigm. Alternatives in gender expression does not make anyone less "real" than the pre and post op crowd. Don't assume I have any more choice in who I am than you do, simply because I don't conform to your idea of what gender identity should be.

I will not lie to myself and those I love to gain your acceptance. End of story.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Transgender murder, hate crime conviction a first

Original Article Published on HERE
By Jim Spellman

DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- A Colorado man was convicted of first-degree murder and a bias-motivated crime and sentenced to life in prison for killing a transgender teen he met on an online social networking site.
Allen Andrade was convicted of first-degree murder and a hate crime in the slaying of a transgender teen.

Allen Andrade was convicted of first-degree murder and a hate crime in the slaying of a transgender teen.

It was the first time in the nation that a state hate crime statute resulted in a conviction in a transgender person's murder, the advocacy group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said.

Seated in the front row of the courtroom, the family of Angie Zapata broke out in tears as the verdicts against Allen Andrade were read Wednesday.

The jury deliberated for just under two hours before returning the verdict shortly after 3 p.m..

"I lost somebody so precious," said Maria Zapata, the victim's mother. She glanced at Andrade and continued: "The only thing he can't take away is the love and the memories that I have of my baby. My beautiful, beautiful baby."

Andrade spoke just one word. "No," he said when asked if he wished to address the court.

Judge Marcelo Kopcow then imposed the mandatory sentence for the first-degree murder conviction -- life in prison without parole.

The verdict was hailed by gay and transgender rights groups.

"This is a landmark decision," said Mindy Barton, the legal director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado. Barton attended the trial daily.

"Hearing 'guilty on first-degree murder' and 'guilty of bias-motivated crime' was a hugely emotional experience for all the family, friends and the supporters of Angie," Barton added.

"She will not be forgotten."

Andrade admitted killing Zapata, but his defense argued that he acted in the heat of passion after discovering that Zapata was biologically male. The defense asked for a lesser verdict, such as second-degree murder or manslaughter.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors referred to Zapata as "she," while the defense referred to the transgender teen, who was born Justin Zapata, as "he."

"When [Andrade] met him, he met him as 'Angie,' " defense attorney Annette Kundelius argued on Wednesday. "When he found out it wasn't 'Angie,' that it was 'Justin,' he lost control."

But the jury rejected the argument, deciding in favor of prosecutors, who argued that Andrade knew Zapata was biologically male and that knowledge motivated the crime.

"This was an ambush attack," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Robb Miller. "This was an all-out blitz."

Zapata was "born in a boy's body but living as a female," added Miller. "Ultimately, she was murdered because of it."

The case has become a rallying point for supporters of the transgender community, who have held vigils and launched Web sites in remembrance of Zapata.

They are calling for the inclusion of transgender people in hate crime statutes across the country and at the federal level. Currently, 11 states and the District of Columbia recognize transgender people in their hate crime laws.

According to prosecutors, Zapata, 18, and Andrade, 32, met online in summer 2008 and arranged to meet. Zapata brought Andrade to her apartment in Greeley, Colorado, where they spent nearly three days together.

According to a police affidavit, Zapata was out of the apartment when Andrade noticed photographs that made him "question victim Zapata's sex."

Andrade confronted Zapata, who declared, "I am all woman." Andrade then grabbed Zapata and discovered male genitalia.

According to court records, Andrade told police he began hitting Zapata with his fists, knocking her to the ground. He then grabbed a fire extinguisher and twice hit her in the head.

Andrade told police he thought he had "killed it," referring to Zapata, and covered her with a blanket. Realizing what he had done, he then cleaned up the crime scene, the affidavit said.

Andrade told police he heard "gurgling" sounds coming from the victim and saw Zapata sitting up. He hit her again with the fire extinguisher, he said, according to the affidavit.

Andrade took Zapata's car and fled. Police discovered the car two weeks later and arrested Andrade.

The jury heard jailhouse phone conversations, including Andrade telling a girlfriend "gay things must die." He did not testify in his own defense.

Zapata was 16 when she adopted the name "Angie," and made the decision to live as a woman.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"You throw like a girl!"

When I was around 12 or 13, I tried out for Little League. Everyone told me to try out for softball, and one of my friend's parents ran the softball league, but I hate softball. My hands are too small for the ball. But I digress...

I didn't make the Little League team - thinking back, I'm not sure if any 'girls' did - and was placed on the farm team instead. As the only female bodied person on the team, because of my age, I was a little taller than the rest of the team. I would keep my shoulder length hair tucked under my hat to avoid standing out.

One day during practice, we were throwing the ball back and forth. The father of the boy I was partnered with was in the stands "encouraging" him. I'm sure that's what he thought he was doing. I remember some of the things he said to my partner, "What was that?", "Who taught you how to throw??"

"You throw like a girl!"

I caught the ball, and stopped. Reaching up I took off my hat, and dropped it on the grass next to me, and resumed practicing.

The guy was quiet the rest of the practice.


At the end of the season, we had a big picnic. We'd topped the farm league that year, so each of us got a trophy. I remember going up to the table, and seeing all the little baseball player trophies lined up in neat little rows. I eagerly searched for my name, and to my horror, I found mine. In the neat little rows of baseball player after baseball player, helmets on and bats poised high and waiting, was a figure about a half inch taller than the others, with a more upright stance and a ponytail.

They had put a softball player on my trophy, because the figure was a girl.

I don't think there were words at the time to describe how angry I was. I'm NOT a softball player! I'm a baseball player! I wanted to be just like everyone else on the team, I didn't want to be singled out or made different. Why couldn't they just let me blend in with the rest of the boys?

I'm sure they thought at the time they were doing the "right thing". As they say, however, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and all they succeeded in doing is reminding me just how different from everyone else I really was. All it lead to was me forcing myself into the role of "GIRL" they had laid before me, forgoing my love of baseball and BMX an squeezing myself into a prison of skirts, sweaters and false enthusiasm: Cheerleading.

Yes, there are pictures.

No, you can't see them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"It's amazing what a pair of breasts can do."

Forewarned is forearmed, this might sound a bit "ranty".

Tonight I watched a documentary called "Teen Transsexual" on BBC America. It's the story of a 17 year old Male to Female transsexual, the whole coming to terms and transition story that you find in a lot of documentaries of this type.

I noticed as I watched the documentary I got more and more depressed.

Interviewing Lucy's mother, she explained how as a child, "Richard" was quiet and shy, keeping to himself, and how he was only happy when he was playing with his cousin's dolls. She discussed how after she began living as a female, how she blossomed, coming out of her shell. Her new appearance as a girl brought her renewed confidence, and beginning her surgical transition helped as well.

"It's amazing what a pair of breasts can do." Lucy said at one point, smiling in a bar with her mother and friends.

I suppose it is. I know each day that I struggle to hide mine, sometimes bound so tightly that it hurts to breathe, it's a DD-sized reminder of what a pair of breasts can do. While most days binding is the only way I can feel comfortable leaving the house, sometimes it feels like a punishment, as if the pain is a penance for the "wrongness" of my body. I think back to the nights lying in the dark, alone with fantasies of self-mutilation, of carving and peeling away the layers of skin and flesh until I could find the "me" that was trapped somewhere inside, or the days staring into the mirror, and wondering what exactly that "me" even looked like. Thirty years of wishing I could do something - anything - about the breasts and vagina I was born with but never felt any connection to, and not having any options.

I'm not a transsexual. I don't want to be a man, because I'm not a man. I can't be a woman, because I'm not a woman either. When I watch a coming of age story of someone discovering their "inner-me", and finally being able to make it an "outer-me", something inside me screams. Call it jealousy if you like, but sometimes, I wish I had a box I could fit into. I wish I could walk into a surgeon's office and say "YES that's what I want!"

Yes, Lucy, it is amazing what a pair of breasts can do. Where they have brought you joy, they have only brought me misery.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Our Secret Hate

I've been thinking a lot the last few days about discrimination against transpeople, and the LGBT community as a whole.

It occurred to me that on a whole, we tend to expect the worst from people. Our life experiences have shown us that when we out ourselves to family, friends, religious people, work, etc., things tend to go badly. We're met with hatred, misunderstanding, miscommunication and ignorance. Because of this, we are guarded around "outsiders" - people who aren't members of the exclusive LGBT community. We expect to be met with these negative reactions, and prepare ourselves to lash out. We wait, ready to strike back and defend ourselves.

What happens when the blow never comes? What do we do when someone stops, and steps forward, reaching out in an attempt to understand, us with our fist held back ready to strike at an attack that doesn't exist?

I've noticed in some cases, people in the LGBT community will lash out anyways, perhaps some manner of "preemptive strike". Maybe it's just easier to start swinging and keep them at an arm's (or a fist's?) length than to meet them halfway. It's possible we're just sick of dealing with it, and would rather not bother with the effort of helping them understand. Why would we? They never listen anyways!

Considering all of this made me come to the conclusion that sometimes we bring homophobia and transphobia upon ourselves. When people respond in this fashion, all we're showing them is that we're unapproachable, angry people who don't want acceptance or understanding. We don't want justice. We want revenge. We want the "str8s" to just go away. It's our own little form of separatism. It's our secret hate.

If someone is trying to understand us and we chase them away, we've lost another ally. We've made that person less likely to try and approach another LGBT person on friendly terms. We've potentially added another notch to the Bible Belt. We've lost another vote against Proposition 8, or Amendment 2.

If people outside the LGBT community are willing to step forward in trust and understanding, I'm willing to meet them halfway. It's not easy, and it's not supposed to be. You can't change a millennium of programming in one blog post, but maybe you can change someone's mind for just a few minutes. Even a moment of reconsideration is worth the effort. It's possible that our actions are futile. It's also possible to change someone for a lifetime. We'll never know until we try.

I'm going to end the cycle of hate, starting with me. I hope you do the same, because no one will accept us if we are unwilling to accept them as well.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I went to one of my favorite LGBT related sites, The Bilerico Project, for my usual favorites in LGBT Blogging and News. There was a popup from Nielsen Online for a survey to better understand site traffic. From what I can gather it's a branch of The Nielsen Co., a company I worked for a few years back doing data entry on television commercials under Nielsen Media Associates.

I figure, if it's to collect data on the site, sure why not?

First line: Age ... god I'm in the 35-44 age bracket?? *cringe* *click*

Second line: Gender: Male, Female



*looks at the LGBT, site zie's on, looks back at the survey*

*shakes head*


Monday, February 16, 2009


I figured since I get asked this question a lot, I should just put all the information in one place.

Wikipedia states: "Breast binding is the material used in, or the act of reducing visible breast size in both women and men through the use of constrictive materials."

In pre-operative FtM transsexuals, transgendered persons, genderqueer and crossdressers, this is done to minimize the breasts as much as possible, and to give a flatter, more masculine appearance, or the appearance of male pectoral muscles.

Depending on your breast size, this can be done a number of ways, some relatively safe - such as sports bras and binding vests - and some incredibly dangerous, like duct tape. My personal preference is for the binding vests from Underworks. I own the 997 model, and it does a fairly good job at compressing my 38DD chest. I'd like to get a second vest (possibly the 980) and layer them for additional compression. I'm worried at how hot these are going to be in the Florida summer *cringe*.

Binding takes time. It takes time not only to get into your binder, but to figure out exactly the best way to wear it for you, and to get comfortable with it. I'm not going to lie - binding can be incredibly uncomfortable at times. If it pushes on your stomach it can make eating a pain, and if you don't sit properly it can really cause an ache in your back. You need to keep at it, keep experimenting, and find out the most comfortable method for you.

Once I get moved, I'll post before and after pictures of my specific binding, and how effective it is. For now I'm going to post what resources I have collected below for people who are interested in learning more about different binding methods. As many will state, I really do recommend getting a binder, and not using tape or elastic bandages, which can be incredibly painful and hazardous to your health.

Hudson's Guide to FtM Binding
Binder Reviews
FtM at Underworks
Tip For Keeping Binders from Rolling Up
Breast Binding Photos before Testosterone

Hope this helps anyone who was interested. If I find any other links of interest I'll post them asap. Good luck!

Friday, February 13, 2009

"No, she's a girl, she's just living transgender"

In the few years that I've been out, I've been lucky enough to only face a few instances where my being transgender was responded to negatively. I lost a friend over it.

Tonight I was faced with a tremendous amount of hostility for being me, from people who I thought were at least acquaintances, if not friends. People who will so willingly accept and learn new things and accept restrictions from people within their subculture, but who adamantly refuse to learn about anything outside that little comfort zone. Even if it's just to foster some kind of mutual respect or understanding.

What's bothering me is when a subculture that wants to be respected and taken seriously can't respect or take seriously other subcultures, or minorities who are different from their own. People seem to think their minority, or their subculture is the only viable one, and there couldn't possibly be any overlap.

Like a transgender person can also be gay, or straight, but in many cases neither the gays nor the straights want to accept them into fold. A transgender person can be into BDSM, but the BDSM community may not accept a transgender person.

Walls built on top of walls, all it ends up doing is dividing us, whether we are LGBT, BDSM, or any other manner of subculture. There's no love and there's no cohesiveness to our goals if we are constantly finding more reasons to exclude people.

All this leads to is hurt feelings and lonely lives.

They don't have to accept me. No one has to accept me. In the end, acceptance is entirely their choice. I'd at least like people to give me a chance, offer me at least the benefit of the doubt, before automatically discounting me as not worth the effort. Yes, my feelings are hurt. This isn't the first time, and I know it won't be the last.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Flasback! 7th Grade

So I went out to run errands today: picked up an Ebay purchase at the post office, went to CVS to get cold medicine for my sick roommate, and stopped by Arby's to bring home some dinner (forgot how expensive they are!).

As I'm pulling out of Arby's, Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue comes on the radio station. Suddenly it's like I'm transported back to eight grade, and I'm twelve years old again.

I remember a classmate tearing the legs off the Gumby keychain my oldest brother gave me.

I also remember someone handing me back the mix tape I'd made for the class party (I think for the last day of school). This was of course after someone had smashed it.

I recall the school dance, where the only person who would dance with me was the assistant principal.

*sigh* Ah, memories.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Relationships are an odd one in my situation.  I'm transgender, identifying as third gender, and a lot of people really don't know what to make of that.  

My last long term partner, a bisexual man, had no problem with any of my gender expression.  Since our breakup over a year ago, in my search for a new partner, I've come across a myriad of responses to my gender identity.

Once, while sitting in a diner with me, my potential partner, a gay man, and a very sexually liberal thinker (straight, but very accepting of everyone in the LGBT community), we got on the discussion of transgender, and I mentioned to them that I am transgender.  My not-partner (who already knew this) said very loudly "No you're not!!", startling the hell out of me and our other two friends.  I think that was when I realized it really wasn't going to work.

Someone else I crushed on once said "I wouldn't care if I found out tomorrow you had a penis, I'd love you just the same."  It was one of the best things anyone had ever said to me.  Then he disappeared, and I haven't seen or heard from him since last July.  So much for that.

Then I met Baron.  Baron is my current partner, and we've been committed to each other for five months.  I came out to him very early on in our friendship, and I think it kind of threw his brain for a loop.  Instead of doing what some people I've met have done (which is run and hide, or never talk to me again) he buckled down, and he researched.  He read, he studied, he met other transgender and transsexual people and talked to them, he did everything he could to understand as best as he can.

We both knew early on he is a strictly heterosexual man, and if I chose any kind of surgical transition, it would mean the end of our relationship.  I understand that.  He's heterosexual - he's not attracted to penis.  As it stands, identifying as third gender, I really have no surgical plans in my future (except maybe a breast reduction, someday).  I like living my life very gender ambiguously.  To me, it's comfortable.  To us, it works.

My partner, despite being heterosexual, is comfortable with me being as out and vocal as I am, and with being beside me in public, when I dress and present as male.  Sure, this might mean we could be mistaken for a gay couple.  Let them.  We are who we are - two people who love each other - no matter how straight or how queer you define it.

Yes, I live a pretty queer life, and I'm in a pretty queer relationship.  We defy the idea of a heteronormative couple.  It's like those tshirts: "I'm not straight but my boyfriend is."

Well, it's true:  I'm NOT straight, but my boyfriend is.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I'm lucky enough to have never been the victim of any kind of bashing, but I don't rule out that it might happen in my lifetime. It's sad that the word got co-opted like this. defines bashing as:


1. the act of beating, whipping, or thrashing: a series of unsolved bashings and robberies.
2. a decisive defeat: We gave the visiting team a good bashing.
3. (used in combination)
a. unprovoked physical assaults against members of a specified group: gay-bashing.
b. verbal abuse, as of a group or a nation: feminist-bashing; China-bashing.

Now, I'm guessing they're using the 3b. definition of the term. Last I checked, that's a protected right known as "Freedom of Speech". Is definition 1 and 3a., the definitions used typically in the homosexual community, protected under Freedom of Speech laws? Of course not. That's assault, and a hate crime. It's sickening how they can compare definition 3b. to definitions 1 and 3a. There's no comparison.

I have the right to not agree with your religious beliefs. You, however, don't have the right to beat me half to death for it.

Friday, January 30, 2009


First, let me apologize for my lack of updates. Between preparing to move, and a nasty bout of the flu, I haven't been able to update as much as I'd like. I hope to remedy this soon.


I grew up invisible.

Not in the Harry Potter Invisiblity Cloak kind of invisible, more like the "no one really noticed I was there" kind.

I grew up in the shadow of my twin brother, born one minute before me. When we were growing up, my mom (like the mother of all twins it seems) wanted to dress us in matching outfits. Me being a "girl" and my brother being a boy didn't deter her. She simply bought his clothes in blue, and mine in red. So it would seem I was a very very young crossdresser. Keeping my hair short didn't help matters any, people would just mistake me for my brother, or thought she had twin boys.

Growing up, I tried very hard to get my parents to notice I was there. I played sports, I won awards, I was in civic and community service organizations. I earned the right to go to fancy dinners with State Representatives and Mayors. I was the stereotypical "good girl" - I never got in trouble, I didn't break rules, I just wanted someone - anyone - to notice I was there, maybe even like me. I remember a time (my teacher actually took a picture of this, I wish I could find it), around fourth or fifth grade, at recess, watching the kids play kickball, and me sitting on the steps by the doors, alone. I did that a lot.

My brother has always been my opposite. I'm left handed, he's right handed. I'm more extroverted, he was very introverted. My parents - and most everyone who came into contact with him - overcompensated for his lack of involvement. He was given everything he could want, toys, musical instruments, video games, electronics, a tv, even his own room. I had my own room for about a year - age 13-14 - until we moved to a smaller apartment and I had to share with my mom.

It's difficult living in someone's shadow. I had nightmares of being in crowds, screaming my lungs out, and no one hearing me. Finally, at age 16, burnt out from going from school to work to civic groups, frustrated because my mother signed for my brother to get his drivers license (but wouldn't sign for me), suffering for months from an ulcer, dealing with the emotional torture of sexual abuse that started when I was 13, I decided I wanted to die.

Why is it that it took an attempt to end my life for people to notice there was something wrong?

I still bear scars, though few people get to see them. Talk to me long enough and I might let one slip. Four suicide attempts and 19 years later, I still struggle to not be invisible. I no longer live in my brother's shadow, we haven't spoken in six years. The rest of my family still doesn't see me, being the youngest of seven children, none of us have really talked to each other since my parents died.

I'm not entirely sure what the message of this post was, but it's something that's been rolling around in my mind the last few days, and I needed to get it off my chest.