Today, I feel like connecting with someone.
I know I just posted about ten minutes ago, but I don’t feel done yet. It’d be nice to just be in the company of someone who understands, someone else trans, maybe someone old and wise who’s been through it all. Like Kate Bornstein.
I just checked out the only book of hers that our local library carries, “Hello, Cruel World.” I know it’s a suicide prevention guide, and my gender dysphoria hasn’t been nearly bad enough lately to make death an option, but I just wanted someone who understood me to talk to me. She didn’t fall short of that at all.
Even my boyfriend, who is supposed to get it more than anyone else, and who really does, isn’t THERE- he isn’t from this place, and I can’t expect him to automatically understand, even when he tries. I don’t know any trans people in real life and I have a few remote blogging buddies, but I don’t know a single flesh-and-blood person who can relate and talk to me about this, past me educating them about something they’re clearly clueless on. When I want guidance, and our conversations mainly consist of “How is this any different from cosmetic surgery? Why don’t you get liposuction while you’re at it? You’re fine the way you are,” it gets a little wearying. When you’re talking about the sobering suicide statistics of trans people, roughly one in three, and the only way the guy can respond is “Well, they must be weak/stupid, anything is better than death,” when you’re stating that one in 12 trans people world wide will be murdered violently and you’re standing up to possibly be counted in that slaughter, and they only way they can respond is to say that it must be easier to change the inside than the outside…
You just know you’re talking to people who have no idea.
It’s a little like being from a different country entirely. It IS being from a different culture. Imagine being born part of a race that is physically branded by the color of their skin or the rituals of their culture to be ridiculed, spat on, torn down, made fun of and be one of the last politically “safe” punching bags the bullies can use. Welcome to our lives. We are the New Roma.
And guess what? It’s only getting worse. In a world where the circle of those who are accepted under the umbrella of protection is expanding, where the fringe of people it’s still safe to beat up on is rapidly shrinking, and where those who love to hate can’t find their fix and are told to focus their hatred and ugliness only on those who REALLY deserve it, there are only the sickos, perverts and inexcusible freaks of nature left. And sadly enough, in the current world view, transsexuals are still under those categories.
We’re the only people left trapped in a burning apartment that the firemen won’t dare enter for fear of getting burned themselves, and we’re running out of time- if we don’t save ourselves, nobody will.
And this brings me to another topic that really burns my gills. One of the only ways we CAN save ourselves in the world view is to stop being sideshow events and porno subjects and Jerry Springer fodder and try to make our way up in the world as respectable, upstanding, contributing citizens of society. And yet…
It is SO hard to give back to a culture that has taken so much from us. When you go your whole life beaten by the system and expected to be nothing more than punchlines and punching bags, you DO tend to live on the fringe, the only place that will accept you, and it’s hard to really clean up, duck your head, give nod to the Man and go back to living a white bread, vanilla life. How can you even do that when you’ve seen so much cruelty, how far the all-powerful System falls from grace where we really slip through the gaps, when you’ve seen the really ugly side of life? And it’s a double sided push, too.
On one side, you’ve got Society, the people who expect you to be unable to hold down a decent job and life and expect you to be ugly, incompatible with propriety and generally wrong- and yet, paradoxically, expect you to be able to overcome all of that, and sneer when you can’t. It’s a direct challenge.
On the other side, you’ve got the trans community, which, as it evolves with the times and defines itself, can be almost as bad of an enemy as anyone else, in spite of itself. I feel much more tremendous pressure from THAT side of things to be successful, respectable, and morally upright, and never ever let any cisgendered people catch me doing anything that might cast a shadow on the rest of the community. In that way, I carry the burden of every other trans person on my shoulders every time I step out my doors, every time I make a decision, every time the public eye is on me. We all do. We all, individually, carry the weight of every other trans person out there.
And let me tell you something. I hate it.
I hate being under such scrutiny that, if I decide to do something a little naughty, suddenly my whole people is paying for it, not just me. I’m sure that anyone of a scrutinized minority understands that feeling.
The truth is, I do feel a responsiblity to my community, more patriotism than I do for my country or even my blood family. I want to change the world and make it a better place for those like me. But suddenly I’m a part of this fraternity just for being born this way, and I realize that things are turning around again for me, only on a grander scale.
I’m not part of the trans movement primarily for the sake of making the world a better place, to make a political statement, or because I believe in something greater than myself. I didn’t “join” this to be part of a club or to take the banner of something that I believed would make me morally purer. I’m not here because of some crusade, and I don’t support it because I want to give myself to a cause.
I’ve become trans to become myself, and I feel that if I reform myself because the trans community expects I owe them something on the sole virtue of being trans, then I’ve defeated the purpose we’re all here for. If I become something I’m not for one side or the other, then I haven’t made any progress at all- just switched sides.
So I apologize if anything I ever do or say seems retrogressive to the trans movement, or if I ever seem selfish. But I believe that, to change the world, we must first change ourselves, and if I change myself into something that I don’t necessarily believe in, then what do I expect of the world?
I will always try to honor my community the best I can, because I do love them, and I do want to change the world beyond myself, and I would like to make an effort to keep from tarnishing an already almost ruined people. But I will not be fake to do it. I will not censor myself, and I will not go quietly into the cage that the establishment has cut out for me.
I am me, nothing else.