13 April, 2013

The Anti-Necropost

So, this post is for those of you who are still following me or expecting updates. I commend you. Personally, I usually stop following people on social media after a set amount of inactivity. Personally.

Why have I stopped: Well, it's not that I no longer have anything to say. I've just been saying it in shorter capacity, usually via Facebook or Twitter, especially when it comes to LGBTQ* politics. Not really worth getting into Blogger format, and frankly I forgot about it after awhile.

What I've been doing: This time last year, I did something rash. I called out my racist boss. In response, I lost my post. On paper, it was considered my request, but what would you do? Continue to sit around and wait to see what happens while you continue to face harassment at every turn? And going in at 11pm to 7am and killing yourself mentally for the privilege? No thanks.

A month later, I was reassigned to a daytime account for a few months. I would still be there if I hadn't collapsed from pain on the job in July. When I went to get it looked at, I was ultimately accused of faking it, and my Worker's Comp was denied, mostly because the doctors' official statements were that my taking of HRT was "a pre-existing condition." Because obviously I couldn't possibly be hurt by any other factor than gender dysphoria once it entered my record, right?

I spent the next 6 months in an odd place. I was constantly looking for new part time jobs while I started up my formal college education, entering Long Beach City College in Fall 2012 for my General Eds at age 25. While that gave me some mental satisfaction, the fact that I was unemployable even by the Lowest Common Denominator jobs like Target, Walmart, McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell certainly hurt. I mean, I had been in the customer service workforce since 2005, and I can't get going anywhere? Even for 10 hours a week? Ridiculous. I know these places are hiring, just not me.

It was a blessing in disguise, I would later learn. You see, my wife Elizabeth (whom I should mention I married officially in April 2012 just weeks after losing my post) had a friend from high school days visit in December, and he told us about how he finally kicked off the sickness of corporate employment to follow his dream of becoming a craft beer brewmeister. It was inspiring to talk to him that day, and I decided to put my accumulated music skills on the bass to good use.

So I spent the next several months pressing every form of music classified I could find, and visiting countless stores to post my resume and business cards. Finally, these past few weeks, it's beginning to pan out. Tomorrow I go in for a jazz show on the Marina here in Long Beach, and if I play well, it could become a weekly Sunday Afternoon gig. And that is an amazing start.

I'm probably not going to be writing often on this blog. But I plan on keeping it alive as best I can, as I continue to hear it is a useful account for other people, especially my accounts of my surgery experience. So for that reason, it will remain alive. Kind of.

As a member of the American Federation of Musicians, I was given discount access to my own website, so I'm rebuilding www.serawohldmannmusic.com. I understand the requests I've made will be heavily based on WordPress, so expect to see me writing little snippets of musical promotion over there. If you want politics and LGBTQ* commentary, find me on Facebook by my name or on Twitter @SWohldmann. And if you used to follow my short lived Vlog on YouTube, sorry, but that probably isn't going anywhere, either. However, the channel will feature musical uploads as they happen. All of these are completely public, so help yourselves. If you're just going to troll me, I'll deal with you one at a time.

Take care,
~Sera Wohldmann
String Bass & Bass Guitar, Serving Long Beach and Southern California since 2012.

29 August, 2011

Geek Girl Crossing: Resistance Is Futile

Yeah, I realize it's been a little while since I blogged, but hey. As far as the personal stuff goes, well, best thing I can say is just that there's lately way too much month left at the end of the money. A rant for another day. As for today, I got something a little different.

 So, I've been watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine a lot lately. Mostly, it's a great way to kill time at work. It's also something I can watch that my love is...well, less interested in than other Trek series. So, she's not interested. Otherwise we watch a lot of things together, and we've already watched The Original Series and the first 6 movies in order.

Anyways, while watching DS9, I find myself fascinated with the character of Jadzia Dax. For those unfamiliar with her, the short version is that she's the station's science officer from an alien race called Trill. Jadzia is the name of the woman, and Dax is the name of a symbiant life form that crosses from host to host, retaining all memories and working with the Trill host.

Jadzia is the 8th of a series of hosts in Dax's life, including her most recent previous, Curzon, a rebellious man who lived a long life before his death right before the show begins. So, among her other hosts, Dax has been wife & mother, husband & father. Man & woman in social roles, yet, in a way, a Trill can transcend gender as we know it, as needed. One minute, Jadzia is fending off the flirts of men, the next she's taking a bat'leth to a group of attacking Klingons...and wins.

From what I see of Jadzia Dax, gender is irrelevant to her. And yet, she's satisfied being the gender that Jadzia herself was, and that's fine. So, no, she's not technically a trans character, but she resonates as one, to me. She has had to live the life of each gender, according to how the host (or, if you prefer, the "body") fits best. For me, the body had to change, of course. But I've had to assimilate (if you will) as male before, and now, I assimilate as female, which is more satisfying to me. So, I can see much of not only myself in Dax, but someone who takes the best of what she knows to get the job done...gender be damned.

11 July, 2011

Unofficial Polling: Sexy Question for Trans Women

So I'd been browsing for...novelties, lately, and an interesting question came up as I browsed. And I realized it was a question I'd love to ask people, but then, how do I go about with that? So, I figured, why not try to foster a discussion on this here blog.

Now, even though I've posted some words and body references in the past, I tried to make those references as clinical as possible. This one is probably not going to be like that, so I'm posting the question after the jump. I want to hear your opinion; all trans women who employ this technique.

23 June, 2011

A Learning Moment

None of us are too old to learn again. I suppose that's why I'm eternally an optimist -- for as willing as I am to explain myself to those I meet in the hopes of opening new minds, I am just as willing to take criticism when it is fairly dished out.

And I'll be the first to admit that in my most recent post, I learned something.

I've never thought of myself as an elitist before. I've been struggling to get by in the lower class for a very long time, and when I see the persecution on all sides including race, gender, sex, and orientation, I guess I figured it couldn't be me. A couple of readers of this blog, new faces them all, I think showed me that that's certainly not the case. I had to take a closer look at myself from another perspective, and I didn't like what I saw.

As I said in the comments there, though, I also believe in integrity. I refuse to scrub the post, though clearly it is not accurate, as a sign of that. Sometimes it's too late to erase a mistake, and I realize that.

Keeping it short this time. With love~

13 June, 2011

Hyper Femininity in the Trans Community

Today's post may upset a few people, but please finish reading before blasting me too hard. As always, comments of any kind are always welcome.

Perhaps I'm standing in a strange spot, here. Perhaps my perspective is a little off - or even a lot off. But there's one thing I've noticed among transgender/transsexual women is something I've called, for the time being, Hyper Femininity. Let me explain, ladies.

Scenario: You just came home after a long day (or in cases like mine, night) of work, and all you want to do is get out of those damn clothes and have fun (disregarding for this scenario whether or not you're even out or dressing at work, doesn't apply here). But, it looks like none of your favorite hangouts are open, and you have some shopping and errands to do. Damn responsibility... *angrily shakes fist at empty space*

So you walk over to the closet and think about where you're going and what you're doing. Nothing glamourous, that's for sure. Do you grab some jeans and a simple top or T-shirt? I know I do. The Trans Hyper Feminine, however, due to reasons I cannot explain, grabs a nice dress or skirt. Like, with a very bright pattern, a full accessory spread, and plenty of stone/sequins works on it. What gives?

Are we so insecure in ourselves and our womanhood that we have to overcompensate? Is there something masculine or butch about slacks or jeans? Let's face it, they're a lot easier to deal with, especially if you have your hands full on a windy day! So where's the shame?

It's something I've seen time and again, and I don't know why. Believe me, I'm not a skirt-hater or anything; I wear one on stage all the time. But let's be realistic; most cis women would grab the T-shirt to get this job done. It just makes sense. Cis women don't feel the need to overcompensate for something like that; what makes trans women different?

I've even been attacked by trans women for wearing jeans to a trans club! You would think this is a joke, but this has happened many times. Suddenly I'm not as authentic, not "trans" enough (whatever the fuck that means) or not trying hard enough...even though this particular club is held in a dive bar, a place where, if it were not a trans club, would make me look ridiculous.

Perhaps I'm missing the point altogether. Maybe it's just me, I'm not qualified to speak because of my casual/soft-butch-with-hair identity. I don't know. Maybe someone can enlighten me? What's the appeal in looking ridiculously over-made-up for the situation?

Note: I know that I have trans men reading this as well, but I chose not to cover that side because I, in my limited experiences with trans men, have not seen the inverse (hyper masculinity) be even noticeable among the guys. Again, if I'm wrong in that department, feel free to let me know.

11 June, 2011

A Rebuttal to TGCD.net Admin Laura Gonzales

The following was posted to the TGCD.net forums in response to a front page blog in which admin Laura Gonzales, shortly after her SRS in Philadelphia, proceeded to issue a blanket condemnation of Non-US SRS surgeons. As someone who was asked, explicitly, all about my experiences in Bangkok with Dr. Pichet by this woman at a time when she herself was considering Dr. Suporn in the same city, I could not let this slide. I realize this is a bit of a side-step to my typical blog, but I wanted to provide an additional source for this document, as well, just in case the version on TGCD should "disappear."

Dear Laura:

I consider you a friend, and have since I met you. I can safely say that meeting the love of my life at your club changed me forever. For that, I do not want you to consider this an attack. However, your recent front page blog posting regarding US SRS doctors has me somewhat concerned, and more than a little upset!

In the months between my January SRS and yours in June, you approached me multiple times, both in person, and through various media, inquiring as to the services provided to me by my surgeon, Dr. Pichet Rodchareon of Bangkok, Thailand. I gave you my honest review, one that I have posted numerous times to many sites dedicated to the topic, and one that I repeat here below:

"Dr. Pichet Rodchareon, Dindaeng district, Bangkok, Thailand, of Bangkok Plastic Surgery, has been serving the cis & trans communities of the world for over 20 years. His training has taken him from Boston to Barcelona and beyond. His staff is comprised of men and women from all over with a full knowledge and experience of what it means to truly care for the trans community; indeed, the clinic includes several trans women among the nursing staff, as well. English, Japanese, and Chinese interpreters are available 24/7 while under care, and other interpreters can be arranged as needed.

When I arrived at the airport at 3am local time, the doctor had arrrainged a free shuttle to the hotel where I was booked. The next day, I was driven to the clinic itself for my first face-to-face consultation after many months of phone and e-mail conversations. I received a full step by step coverage, complete with pictures (to my mother's surprise, as she was not expecting them at first) detailing the procedure. Before any further preperations could be made, I had to be certified by another psychologist in Bangkok. I was shuttled, for free, to a nearby hospital for an objective 3rd party opinion. This was in addition to the previous psychological clearence I obtained from Dr. Paul Oberron in West Hollywood, back home.

Only after all was cleared and paperwork was provided for everyone's insurance records was the procedure to be finalized. The next morning, I was picked up again from my hotel, prepared to stay at the clinic for the next 4 days. The procedure went very smoothly, and for the next few days, I was the center of the staff's attention. I knew I could count on the nurses for medication, meals, exercise. On the 3rd day, even though I knew I could not take a full shower with the medical packing and catheter still in, I asked politely for a chance to wash my hair, and Ana, the senior nurse supervisor, personally walked me into the shower and helped me wash my hair and wipe my body down. Her nurses then took the extra time to style my hair for me. I felt so much better after that. I'll never forget those little things that made my experience so wonderful!

For the remainder of my 3 weeks in Bangkok, I continued to be examined twice a week or more to ensure that recovery would continue smoothly once I returned to the states. Throughout my entire stay, the same was always true: I was treated with amazing kindness and politeness. I never paid any extra fees once my initial charges were paid; every little medical supply was included. All of my transportation was included. The only things I needed to pay for were my hotel, airfare, and any extra sight seeing I wanted to do after discharge to the hotel. They even helped arrange for a two day excursion to Pattaya!

It has been 5 months now and I am fully recovered. I am completely orgasm-capable via clitoris or g-spot; I can even squirt (female ejaculation). I have all the functionality I could ever have wanted and more. And I was treated so well. I will continue to advocate for Dr. Pichet's practice and his wonderful, kind, caring, and incredibly knowledgable staff."

Back to you, Laura. You mentioned before you were looking into Dr. Suporn's practice several times after I came back from Dr. Pichet. I gave you what I knew. I find it very strange, then, that you now seem to condemn any person that wishes to travel outside the states for SRS. It has an almost classist tone to it, too; we know that many trans people need surgery in order to feel complete in their identity, and we also know that Western doctors, mostly due to US gouging in health care, cannot afford a US doctor. Asian doctors help provide that option to lower class trans people who need these services.

I wish you the best in your recovery.
With love,
~Sera Wohldmann

19 May, 2011

Keep on Rollin'

Well, today's post is about some wonderful developments in the past week in music!

On Thursday, May 12th, God's Weapon played the lovely Paladino's Night Club in Tarzana, California. Imagine my personal surprise when I discovered that an independent A&R rep was in the crowd watching our every move right as I loaded my gear in. The band had a chance to meet with him and shake his hand before the show began, and he had a very confidant air about him. I didn't know what else to think, other than to focus on the show.

We also were informed that the band that was to precede us had cancelled. The remaining 3 bands for the night got together and agreed on how to split up the time. In the end, we landed an extension of our setlist by 2 additional songs, the first time we'd ever been able to exceed 5 in one night. Needless to say, we were all very happy to hear that!

After our set, we were pulled aside by the aforementioned A&R rep. He gave us some very helpful, constructive criticism, and immediately welcomed us to the team! He set us up with a showcase set next month, same venue, this time as the headliner! He also gave us one other thing we had to do that night:


And that is exactly what we intend to do. We've made the arrangements to make this a FREE SHOW! Anyone living in the LA county area that can come down to the show, DO IT! This rep is bringing down his connections, and the more people we can get in here, the better our chances of landing a deal. We'll have to get you the tickets, of course, so make sure you can meet with a band member soon to take care of everything. It's a 21+ show, starts at 8pm. Paladino's is at 6101 Reseda Blvd, Tarzana, CA. It's just off the Reseda exit off the 101, just west of the 405. Also located across from the Metro Orange Line Reseda Station stop.