first birthday of 5 a.m. girlfriend

05/05/20 - 05/05/21!

a webmaster's endless quest

5amgf is one of the few creative projects that i've stuck with for a whole year. of course, i took plenty of hiatuses as my energy and interest waxed and waned, but i'm proud to say that i've maintained a website for so long, especially after several failed attempts in the past. despite the gaps, it's a really good record of my life and interests— even a little growth, too.

i've certainly learned a lot about web development. i feel much more confident in my CSS skills than when i first took an interest in Neocities in the summer of 2019. back then, i knew only the absolute basics of HTML. now, i can build whole pages from scratch! just look at a comparison between these pages i designed, just one year apart. (the following are my first ever and most recent Love Diaries: shrines dedicated to my relationship with my darling, Twelve.)

debuted on the 25th of April, 2020

debuted on the 25th of April, 2021
this one also has several pop-up boxes with more info,
unlike the previous version where everything is all crammed together.

in the past year, i've moved away from the "contained" style and learnt the merit of letting the entire page scroll. i also learnt how to implement pop-up modals and create responsive designs to accomodate monitors of different sizes, and i stopped using flex boxes as a crutch. although i've mostly forgotten any jQuery i used to know, i feel confident that i could learn it again with ease. just in general, i'm really proud of how far i've come with creating visually pleasing, cohesive designs.

and on top of that, i've had so much fun!!! what could be more enjoyable than making little webpages that serve my interests and mine alone? i get a vision in my head of what i want it to look like— all the information i'd like to share and the little parts that i need to make it work— and then i do my very best to make it a reality. sometimes i don't succeed in bringing to life my original ideas, yet nevertheless i'm quite often pleased with the end result. that kind of labour of love is very rewarding.

another, more important anniversary

last year on the 5th of may, i migrated here from my previous website 5 a.m. boyfriend. simply put, that title was no longer fitting— or rather, it never had been. no matter the strength of my delusion, i have always been and always will be female. last year on the 5th of may, i finally managed to accept that fact.

i don't consider myself stupid or foolish for clinging to transgenderism for so long. womanhood is hard even for the most well-adjusted, so it's no surprise that i, an autistic lesbian disadvantaged from birth, fought desperately to opt out. like most girls, from a young age i absorbed the sexism that surrounded me and turned it inwards. people treat girls as if we're vapid and empty inside, only useful if we're pretty and subservient, overall more like props than people. harmless or not, we're bullied for anything we do; held to unrealistic standards in every area of life; and denied the easy, blameless childhood afforded to our male peers.

on the contrary, i saw myself as spirited and smart, a talented and relentless perfectionist with varied interests and worthwhile opinions. of course that didn't measure up with what people said about girls on tv and in my neighbourhood. by the time i was 10 years-old, i was proudly proclaiming that i wasn't a girl nor a boy, but something else. with the same conviction, i insisted that i was anything from a giraffe to a space alien, which should illuminate the absurdity of it all. it is equally impossible for me, a human, to secretly, intrinsically be a giraffe as it is for me, a female, to secretly, intrinsically be another sex.

as i grew up, i never became interested in "girly things." i've worn makeup maybe twice in my life, and only in minimal amounts; i wear the clothes i like regardless of trends; and in high school, i sincerely thought all my male peers were "just ugly" and that's why i didn't develop any crushes on them. none of these things are requirements of being female— biology takes care of that— but it was very easy to distance myself from womanhood when, in the eyes of most, femininity is what it boils down to. part of this journey is learning that there is no wrong way to be a woman, but we'll get to that soon enough.

additionally, surveys show autistic girls are particularly likely to reject their biological sex. personally, i think that's because the limitations imposed on girls are so strict that even "normal" ones have a hard time measuring up. couple that with sensory intolerance for tight or scratchy clothes and icky makeup, and scalp sensitivities that make hairstyling impossible; plus the bullying endured by anyone who doesn't fit the mould— made even more painful when you lack the social know-how required to navigate complex female friendships— and you've got a perfect recipe for hating girlhood. who can blame those of us who crumbled under the pressure and wanted a way out?

on top of that, by early adolescence i understood and accepted that i was attracted to other women, and henceforth naturally gravitated towards other lesbians and bisexuals despite most of us being closeted teenagers. in the end, transgenderism would spread through our friend group like the social contagion it is. though it may seem counterprodutive when the T is incessantly lumped in with the LGB, it is in fact a shield against internalised homophobia. lots of us thought, "if i become a boy, then it's okay to fall in love with a girl." in many cases, even parents would prefer to have a transgender child who appears to be heterosexual than to let the child live their natural, gay life. it's sad and it's unfair.

as much as i hate to say it, none of the above factors were the final push towards declaring myself "nonbinary." ultimately, it was my livelihood on the internet that did me in— specifically my participation in the fictionkin subculture and 2015 Game of The Year, Undertale.

the disembodied world wide web

picture this: you and all your friends communicate via instant message. you think of each other in terms of screen names and avatars, none of which include your real names or photos because you prioritise fandom rep over showing off in selfies (and you're all self-conscious nerds, anyways). whatever they tell you about themselves must be true— or it might as well be, because there is no way to determine the veracity of their claims. you don't have any plans to meet up in real life because you're teenagers with limited independence who live very far apart. maybe you're content just talking on the phone every once in a while. even if you have friends you see in person at school or wherever, these people provide the majority of your positive social interaction.

i think when you grow up in this kind of social environment, it creates a disconnect between "person" and "body," both in oneself and one's perception of others, like a Cartesian split in overdrive. it's not healthy, and it especially cripples adolescents who are only just beginning to form their sexualities. so much of flirting relies on physical presence and nonverbal language that digital mediums can't communicate, like tone of voice, eye contact, and touch. on top of that, looks and aesthetics inform the bulk of attraction in the shallow romances of juveniles, so if you fall for someone based on the colour scheme of their blog, then boy are you in for a doozy!

here are several more factors that contribute to this split. this is by no means an exhaustive list.

  • the slogan: "you are not [just] your body," or "you are more than your body"
    initially meant to comfort those with low self-esteem because of their looks, sometimes meant to reassure rape victims struggling with their self-worth. now truer than ever when friendships are forged without any face-to-face interaction and your physical appearance plays a minimal (possibly nonexistant) role
  • the slogan: "hearts, not parts!"
    a favourite of the "pansexuals" (aka bisexuality for virgins, sex pests, and straight people), calling for a removal of biological sex from the equation of attraction. i and many other teenagers missed the homophobia and only saw it as an evolved form of "personality over looks." either way, it once more denigrates the importance of one's physical form
  • fixation on and identification with fictional characters, especially those rendered in 2d
    literally nobody on this Earth looks like an anime character, but you can "trick" your brain into thinking otherwise when that's the only image you have to associate with a living, breathing, 3-dimensional person. fictionkin communities in particular take this to an extreme
  • on the internet, no one knows you're a dog
    people do, in fact, go on the internet and lie. in this manner, a person can fabricate an entire life for themselves and live in a delusion as far removed from reality as they please. sometimes this is done with malevolent intent, à la catfishing, or as a coping mechanism for the chronically lonely and overimaginative
  • the intrinsic desire to be understood beyond (and in spite of) surface appearances
    each and every one of us is a full, human person with thoughts, feelings, dreams, memories, fears, and ideals— all of which are imperciptible even when we meet face-to-face. we are social creatures who need others to see and understand us on a deeper level. i feel like people who take to the internet for the majority of their socialising have faced some kind of ostracism in their regular life, thus feeling this need more strongly

this is all rather existential and maybe hard to understand if you didn't depend on the internet in this way, but it's a factor criminally overlooked when discussing transgenderism as an online social contagion. when this is how your world works, it's that much easier to abandon biological reality and prioritise the idea that "everyone is what they say they are."

so, what happened to me?

to make a long story short: as a young person, i was acquainted with many gay and trans people, and i even dated a few girls who claimed to be anything but female both online and IRL. then, in the autumn of my 15th year, i adopted Undertale as my new special interest. right away, i decided i wanted to be like Frisk, a silent yet lovable child with great potential to do evil, so i cut my hair short and became a themlet. the rest is history. in general, i hated to talk about it and avoided "coming out" to anyone, though i did ask to go by a different name at school. the vast majority of my gender business was conducted online. as such, i never sought out sex reassignment therapies, for which i am eternally grateful to my past self.

sometimes i'm embarrassed to have held onto something as nonsensical as a "gender identity" until i was 20 years-old, but it is what it is. in all that time, not one person encouraged me to think about it critically. in fact, it is highly discouraged to doubt a trans person's self-identification, much less the tenets of transgenderism as a whole. as a result, whenever i encountered ideas that confused or frustrated me, i avoided thinking about it at all. for example, once i tried searching for information on those "historical third genders" that trans people love to talk about. i found nothing even remotely similar to the androgynous, liberated peoples they were purported to be, just homosexual men forcefully feminised or otherwise slotted into a lesser caste. i was so perturbed that i told myself i'd have to come back to it later. "there will be something if i just dig for it," i thought, beginning to suspect that such a thing does not exist yet too afraid to confirm my fears.

and that fear is by design. the nature of gender ideology is that you cannot question it under any circumstances whatsoever because the smallest hint of dissent apparently puts dozens of trans lives at risk. oh, you're confused? well that's shameful ignorance at best, and you'd better shape up quick because it's no one else's job to educate you. and at worst, it's proof that you're an evil terf who is literally killing trans people, so we have permission to threaten you with violence until you grovel at our feet. ... i wish that it didn't play out like that, but in a lot of cases it really does. the above lines are practically paraphrasal.

in a group like that, where people are harrassed and excommunicated for the slightest misstep, neither critical thinking nor new perspectives are allowed.