zetasyanthis: (Default)
Hi there!

My name is Zeta Syanthis, and I just wanted to inquire about the status of HB 6073. I'm a transgender individual who was born in Chicago a number of years back and am in the process of updating all my documentation. (I even have my court date on February 17th!) I can update pretty much everything the way the laws are currently written, but despite being on hormone replacement therapy for nearly a year now (and in therapy for longer than that), the laws in Illinois say I need to have surgery to update my birth certificate.

Now, I'm thinking about that, but it's obviously a really big decision, and I'm really not sure right now. I know HB 6073 was introduced last year and has made it at least through the second reading, but I've not seen any progress beyond that. I know there's a lot of messy politics and stuff going on these days, but it'd really be a huge mental help if I could just get this done, forever. >.< Can you help me out and see what can be done?

If there's any additional information I can provide, or anything I can do to help the effort to pass this, please, please let me know what I can do. I don't think I can possibly communicate how much it means, but I'm pretty sure if I could, you'd be crying for a week. >.<

Thank you,
Zeta Syanthis
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Starter PSA.  This is no longer my main platform for interaction with the furry community.  Please follow me on SoFurry if you want regular (non-journal) content.  (Journals are cross-posted here since I know not all of you have an account over there at this point.)

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I've had a rough couple months, and though I plan to journal about that at some stage, that's not the focus for today.  Today, I need to talk, vent, and (maybe) cry about what we do to ourselves in the name of normality.  I can't speak for everyone, but I'm going to try to frame out what I've done (to myself) and what it's cost.  I'm a little scared to find out how much it's hurt me, and even more scared about what I can and can't do to fix that, but I guess we'll see as this moves forward.  (Stream of consciousness writing, activate!)

I'm terrified of putting my pictures online.  I'm terrified of someone linking my real name to my furry identity (Zeta Syanthis).  I'm terrified of someone linking my furry identity to the secondary accounts I use for adult material.  I'm terrified of an employer finding those links and deciding that maybe I'm a liability rather than an asset and firing me or maybe just hiring the next engineer instead.  I'm scared that I don't know what my body is doing some days, and terrified that I'll never be able to be sexually happy, because my brain demands things I physically cannot do.  I'm terrified of society's judgment in all of this, and of the harm many would visit upon me simply for being something they choose to fear rather than understand.  I'm scared of the monsters in the dark, my own destructive kinks that even I don't understand or want, and some days I hate myself for them, because they're just as wrong as all the rest of me. 

Every day, I struggle with the judgment of other people, and even worse, with my own internal judgment of myself.  The cost of this on my own mental health is staggering.  "What if they don't think I'm working hard enough?", "What if they hate me for being who I am?", and "What if my parents fully disown me when I legally change my name?"  This is stuff that is utterly caustic, and has been a leaking vat of toxic waste in my heart for years now.  I'm working with a (fantastic) therapist on this, but it feels like a lot of this stuff is coming to a head recently, and I'm a bit overwhelmed.  (Background:  I've set a deadline for myself to finally start HRT by the end of October for my own sake, and it's forcing me to deal with some of these issues as intended.)

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So... let's talk about identity.  My name is Zeta.  It's what my friends call me, what Dakota calls me, and what I identify with in a way that "Mark" will never be.  The name itself was an outgrowth of a several things, and just like me, it changed from its initial forms to what it is today.  It's traveled the journey with me, and I can't just pick another one.  That's not how this works.  :P  However, it also has a problem...  It was originally intended as an internet pseudonym.  There's a lot of things associated with it that would instantly become more-or-less public due to Google if I were to change my name.  (Zeta Syanthis is crazy unique and 100% googleable!)

Even if I was okay with all that information becoming public (and I'm not sure that I am - some folks would really squick at the fact that my 'sona is a hermaphrodite), there's the consideration of my secondary furry identities.  Before I joined the fandom proper and actually started going to meets, I was a lurker for more than 12 years, and active in various role-play chats on and off during that time.  There are secondary accounts spread around various sites that aren't immediately linked back to this identity (I've been somewhat careful), but it's inevitable that there are enough that someone could find them if they were really looking.  (Given how trans folk are targeted online, I *have* to assume I may be at some point in the future.)

Now, though I have no adult art of Zeta right now even on those accounts, I'd really like to be able to get some of it and have it online.  I certainly have enough favorites that are viewable on those to be damning as is.  I really, really want to be free and open with my sexuality, but I work in very professional circles, and it might also mean I become unemployed (or even unemployable).  (On top of that, I really wish I could journal about some NSFW things that I am not handling all that well, and that just adds to the pressure.)

Basically, ideal me has my own name and identity, is proud of who and what I am, and secure in my own sexuality and kinks...  Easy, right?  (Cue alarmingly hysterical giggling and crying.)  I know it's going to be a hell of a fight to get there, so much so that I've been paralyzed into indecision for a while now.  Meanwhile, my anxiety has been skyrocketing, and I've been falling apart under the pressure.  That can't continue, and so I'm going to have to start working on this.  I'm working with a therapist, but I need all the support and advice you guys can muster to get through this.

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So, let's talk about costs...

(I have to be real about this.  There are going to be costs here, and ones that I have to acknowledge and accept rather than just fear all the time.)

1. My Parents

I haven't talked to my parents in 3 months.  The last time we spoke over the phone was on Mother's day, and my mom said some very hurtful things to me.  Our relationship had been going downhill for a while despite my attempts to repair it, but I finally realized that the level of negativity coming back in every conversation (not just about furry / transgender issues) was actively harming me the more I exposed myself to it.  I (peaceably) broke contact for a while that day, which hurt a lot, but I think it's given me some space to heal... ... but...

I don't exactly want them out of my life, and they honestly haven't done anything so horrible as to be excluded from it.  They didn't take my coming out of the closet re: transgender very well, though, and have basically refused to acknowledge it.  My mom has explicitly told me that I am not to wear female clothing if I travel home for holidays, however, and she refuses to not use the term 'cross-dresser' at this point, which is not exactly helpful.  They are both older and fairly conservative, though.  I didn't realistically expect them to be happy or supportive about this day one and knew it'd take a while for them to come around.

That said, when (because if I'm honest, this isn't an if) I go for a name change, I think I'll lose them ... probably permanently.  Both are older, and I don't know that their health will last the years it'll take for them to come around, especially if I change my middle and last names (which I do not like) too. 

1b. My Brother

I've not written a lot about my brother here, but he could have his own series of journals.  Honestly, I could be doing better in supporting him, but I don't even know how at this point.  (He has some serious mental health issues that are not being treated right now as far as I know.)  Going to have to let this one lie until I figure out some of the other ones, I think.

1c. My Sisters

My sisters are both about 20 years older than I am.  They're very close to my mom, but really really understanding.  I'm not in regular communication with them like I should be, but I *think* they'll be supportive.  The close link to my mom may cause some issues though.

1d. Extended Family

I'm not very close to my extended family either right now, but that's due to some of the emotional shut-in-ness I've had over the past few years.  I think that if I reach out to some of them, I may get some support, but that's going to take a few years.  Some might be really upset that I hurt my parents with all this though, so I honestly don't know.

2. Employment / Co-workers

I'm still really shaken up by my first firing a few weeks ago.  That said, my new manager (as well as a few others in the management chain) are aware of my plans to transition, because I brought it up in the interviews.  (At the time, I wasn't sure I wanted the job, so I was pretty open/aggressive in my questioning of them too.)  My transitioning isn't a problem for them, and they've actually gone out of their way to be supportive, but we'll find out how well my co-workers handle it once they become aware.  Obviously, that could go just about any way, depending on their own viewpoints.  The good news is that I'm edging on desperately needed in my role right now, so my employment is reasonably secure regardless of much of anything else at the moment.

Back to the naming / Google issue.  Ideally, I would combine my multiple accounts (forcing the separation is both time-consuming and really reinforces my insecurities about it), but I'm not sure how to handle the fact that you could Google me and find adult material relatively easily.  (Requiring FA/SoFurry logins helps, but won't really stop anyone who's curious.)  Whether it's art of my 'sona (I already have one tasteful nude), favorites with kinks, or even a discussion of mental instability / sexuality like this post, it's a problem.  In theory, folks wouldn't really care, but I'm sure some will.  Any future employers doing background checks certainly will, and I have no idea what to do about that.

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Basically, I have a really fractured identity right now that's seriously messing me up, and I have *got* to start working on that.  Only problem is that I don't know what to do.  Name change is probably a year away at least, but that's the biggest hurdle as far as I am concerned right now.  I can't go on HRT and be "Mark", and I can't just change the name I've gone by for that many years.  What does do?
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Identity is a tricky thing.  We use words to describe ourselves, to try and define who we are so that other people can understand.  It’s not easy though, as both the questions themselves and the answers must be discovered with great care.  Asking the wrong question is potentially just as damaging as forcing yourself to fit within the confines of one of your answers.

“What am I?”  "Who am I?"  "What do I want?"

These questions haunt us.  They have for generations, ever since we developed the intelligence to wonder about our place in the universe, our place among the stars.  We have created stories and legends, models and explanations, and still we seek.  We may know the biological explanation for why we are here, but we sure as heck don't know what it means to us.

The thing is…  We’re so used to having to fit in boxes, and the world so used to us being easily labelled and categorized, that those of us who don’t fit end up thinking about this a lot.  It seems to be the case that the farther you are from society’s norms, the more you end up having to find your own meaning in things.  Religion, or lack thereof, is a fantastic example of this, in that those of us who find ourselves outside the norm that is belief in a higher power find ourselves seeking something we don’t know how to find.  When you don’t believe in either destiny or an overall plan for the universe, the notion that you are “meant for X” loses meaning.  I don’t know if it’s the case for everyone else in this spot, but that leaves me kind of drifting.  And since drifting means thinking way too much, here’s a thought…  Stick with it, because it’s not going to go where you expect if you only read part of it.

I’m a big history buff, and keep up with current events on top of that, paying quite a bit of attention to not only what’s going on, but why it’s happening.  (The former without the latter isn’t very useful, as you can’t really know what’s going on without context.)  And so my eyes have turned to the Middle East, as exemplified by Egypt, as well as Russia.  I’m aware there are much more extreme cases, but we’ll stick to those two for now.

In general, these countries, the governments in them, and the people, all seem to share common threads as far as how they think about themselves.  In moments of uncertainty (and this isn’t exactly unusual!), their leaders have rallied the people to nationalism, dismissing the value of all those who speak against their specific strategies and goals for maintaining power.  And so it goes and has gone for many years…  They use policy and media to push aside the personal goals and growth of members of their society in favor of appearing strong upon the world stage at great personal cost to their own people.

Now, I’m not going to go into specifics, as libraries have been written on this particular subject and I’m actually trying to make a different point altogether.  It's a thought inspired by one of my favorite writers, J. Michael Straczynski.  There’s a particular episode in a show he wrote (Babylon 5) called “Comes the Inquisitor” in which one of the cast members is interrogated, and more-or-less tortured by an outside ‘observer’ sent by an ancient alien race.  The goal of this observer was to see that the people who were about to be put into a position of incredible importance were the “right people, at the right place, at the right time.”

The way he goes about this is ingenious, and actually forces the audience to answer much the same questions.  Over and over, he asks, “Who are you?  What do you want?” and does not accept any answer that defines the individual by *what* they are.  It’s a really crazy and intense scene, in which the character tries repeatedly to answer with her name, her titles, even the story of how she came to be where she is.  He accepts none of it, and actually inflicts pain on her every time she fails to answer in the way he approves.

Although this is obviously a somewhat crazy premise, the questions are very real, and have a serious impact on the way people think of themselves.  If you ask yourself who you really are, and what you really want, can you answer that without falling back on things defined by others?  Can you speak about it without referring to your job, or one you’d like to have?  Defining yourself in terms of what you are (work, ethnicity, tribe, even nationality) might keep you moving, but never considering who you are, and, mayhaps, who you’d like to be seems to be a very dangerous path.

That’s my thought for the day.  I’m curious as to responses…  You know where the comment box is.  :)

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Zeta Syanthis

September 2017

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