So this is the end. I remember ever since I was a young freshman working at The Stanford Daily as a graphics editor, I dreamed of writing a column. And as I approach my last days at Stanford, I’ve finally fulfilled this dream. It’s a bit surreal.
I have recently come to this jarring realization -- I don’t know any Asian transmen or very many transmen of color. I have several transgender friends at Stanford -- we are a tight-knit community. They are people whom I treasure and who I know care for me. I have also reached out to other transgender communities in the area. But in my adventures both inside and outside of the Stanford bubble, I haven’t met any Asian transmen. And as I live in an area that has a large Asian population, it’s really strange.
I have had a fraught relationship with religion. As a queer person, I’ve always felt that I had to choose one or the other, that either I could be religious or queer. I could never be both.
I loved reading as a kid. The English major within me is a bit ashamed to say this, but my favorite books are still the books I read from when I was 11 or 12. There’s something really magical about that love of reading as a child, when you did it for the sake of doing it, when there were no papers to write or no class discussion to prepare for. Those were the days before I was trained to critically deconstruct everything I read, and I could completely lose myself in the narrative and the characters. I miss those days.
I could talk about what I found problematic with what went on in the Faculty Senate meeting, about how I felt the vote was rushed, that I felt that the Faculty Senate wasn’t educated enough (and they admitted it, too). I could criticize all of the shady deals that went on, like the subtle change to the nondiscrimination clause that added the word “unlawful” such that it no longer tolerated just “discrimination” but “unlawful” discrimination (which brings up the question of what counts as “lawful” discrimination). But honestly, that’s a conversation that I’m too emotionally exhausted to engage in right now.
Recently, an ad hoc committee consisting of Stanford students and faculty was formed in order to research the merits of the return of ROTC to campus. Last week this committee released a statement supporting the return of ROTC. Section 5.1 of the statement specifically addresses the argument of ROTC’s violation of the nondiscrimination policy.
The past Friday was Day of Silence, a nationwide movement where high school and college students across the country remain silent for the entire day in order to make people aware of the bullying of LGBT youth. I have participated in Day of Silence every year I have been at Stanford. It is an important day for me, every year. Every Day of Silence reminds me of where I come from.
I really hesitated about going back into politics in my column, as I’m not usually one to impose my political beliefs on others. But I had some major problems with what went on during elections, particularly with the issues surrounding ROTC.
So last Monday I had my first day of a class called “Feminism and American Literature.” Being both a fan of literature and feminism, I was pretty excited that day. However, as I sat there, I felt a bit off. I felt flustered, guarded, on edge, vulnerable. I had no idea why I felt this way. It wasn’t until about halfway through the class that I realized I was the only male-identified person in the room. And for the first time, I became acutely aware of my maleness.
For one thing, I’m still a virgin. I’ve hesitated about focusing on sex in my column, mostly because I never thought of myself as a sexual being. I’m at my last quarter, and I have yet to have any sort of sexual experience. I figured that maybe if I wrote about it, then I’d feel more comfortable approaching sexual situations.
I went through a huge life realization this past week. Maybe it’s because I’m a senior, and it’s about time I made big life realizations or else I’d be a bit screwed. Or maybe it’s because of this column, which has made me really think about my life. Or maybe it was because this past week was Transgender Awareness Week, where I met so many big figures in the transgender rights movement, and I thought about my own role in the trans community and what I can do for a movement that’s 30 years behind the LGB movement. Or maybe I wanted to procrastinate from doing my CS106A homework.
But this week is not the week to get depressed. For me, Transgender Awareness Week is important because it’s a reminder to me that yes, my life has been unconventional, but that doesn’t mean it’s not legitimate, or that it’s not valid -- my humanity and masculinity are simply a bit different than the standard deviation. A week like Transgender Awareness Week gives me the opportunity to reflect on myself, to embrace my own identity. It’s a reminder that the transgender community -- a community that I am proud to be part of -- contributes to the richness and diversity of both the queer and general populations.
It was while reading that editorial I realized that there was no transgender voice within this editorial, or within any of the opinion pieces presented in any Stanford publication so far. And if transgender issues are going to be at the center of an issue like the military, then some transgender person is going to have to get a word in -- thus, this week’s column.
So on Saturday I went to San Francisco for the San Francisco Equality Awards, a banquet event in which prominent figures in the LGBT community are honored. A staff member of Equality California, the organization holding the event, had read one of my columns, and she liked it, so she offered me a free ticket to the event. I, always a fan of both free things and LGBT people, certainly obliged to attend the banquet, which would be both free and filled with LGBT folk. It was the perfect combination.
So I buy a lot of alcohol (hooray for being in college!), and due to my rather youthful appearance, I always get carded. It’s gotten to the point that whenever I’ve got a six-pack of Coronas (I don’t care what you say, Coronas are magical) at the register I pull out my driver’s license without prompt. For many a cashier, the illusion of maleness is foiled -- I get awkwardly looked at from top to bottom, and then awkwardly “ma’am”-ed until I’m on the verge of punching myself in the face.
So, last week I went to my high school to speak about my experience as a trans person. I know that nobody is really what they were like in high school -- but for me, it was kind of extreme...
My experience with SOSAS panels consisted of freshman dorms, where I mostly spoke to freshmen who had never encountered anyone LGBT before. This was the first panel of the school year at a fraternity house—Kappa Sigma, to be exact...
So last Monday on the way back from class, I epically fell off my bike and hurt my right elbow. A day after my accident, I went to Vaden to get some x-rays done...
Yesterday I was part of an FTM (female-to-male) panel sponsored by the Lou Sullivan Society, an FTM organization in San Francisco. The Lou Sullivan Society was a support group for transmen in the area...
Now that I’m not freaking out every minute of every day, wondering if I pass as a guy or not, I feel I can actually try branching out.
It’s strange to think how far I’ve gone, almost exactly two years later. On Thursday, I’m finally heading over to the Superior Court in Fremont to get my legal name change finalized. I’ll officially be Cristopher Marc Soriano Bautista, and it’ll say so on my school ID, my school transcripts and my driver’s licens
This Friday marks the 12th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance. On this day, people from across the world gather and remember all those transgender people who have been killed this year due to hate and prejudice...
Last Friday I had to take my senior portraits. I was excited since these would be my first school photos as Cristopher. In elementary school I would feel jealous of the boys in my class because they got to wear ties. At 21, in my last year of school, I finally had my chance. I spent a good time looking through my closet, and after much deliberation I settled on a pinkish red shirt with a maroon tie. Sexy...
I don’t have a past. I can’t talk about the days when I was a little boy, when I played with trucks and trains and dressed up as a cowboy for Halloween. I can’t talk about my days playing in Little League. I can’t talk about my awkward growth spurt in high school, about hearing my name during graduation or reading my name on my high school diploma...