A journey to San Francisco to become no less than Me. (BLOG REBOOT: Former site of Hairy Legs.)

Posts tagged ‘trans culture’

More on the trans movement.

 

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.

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Sometimes things do work out.

I haven’t blogged since the beginning of November.  I was doing NaNoWriMo, which by the way I fully endorse, but so much has been eating up my life that I pretty much gave up on it a few days in.  I’ve been in a happy place for a long time anyway; I figure, when you don’t have time to write because you’ve been spending so much time with your friends and loved ones, doing the things you love, that you must be doing something right, so… c’est la vie.  I’ll try it again next year, if things have settled down by then.

I’ve got a lot of things to hit on in a short time, so I think I’m going to bulletpoint it again.

– The two foster kids my parents took in have been shaking the house up and making it crazy, but it does have its uppers.  This is the biggest one so far, to me at least.  The little one, a year and a half, doesn’t talk that much, but she’s started calling me something. 

Da-da. 

It kind of blew my mind at first because I’d never mentioned anything to do with my gender to anyone in the family, particularly the baby, so I wrote it off as an isolated incident and figured it was a baby’s mistake, something she’d probably never say again.  But she won’t stop calling me Da-da, which does a few things at once; makes me realize that one day, I want to be a Daddy- I always have, to some extent- and it confirms the gender vibrations I give off to people who are too young to be biased on appearance.  So that has been really cool.

– I got to change the way at least one person views trans culture.  I was riding in the car with one of my friends, and he glanced out the window at one of the pedestrians and went, “Whoa, is that a chick or a dick?”  And my immediate response (as per Calpernia Addams’ fabulous video “Bad Questions to Ask a Transsexual“) was:

“If you can’t tell the difference, then you don’t need to know.”

He looked a little shocked at me- “Well, that’s not very nice.” 

I was a little aghast.  “Since when is it our job to tell everyone else the business going on between our legs?  It’s not a matter of  ‘nice’, it’s a matter of the most personal nature.  Transpeople don’t exist to be nice, you know.  We deserve the respect everyone else deserves, too.”

He was really quiet after that, which I took as a personal victory, since he usually has a smart comeback for everything.  I think he really took that to heart and thought about it for a few minutes.  Then he changed the subject, and I chose not to press the issue.  It seemed like a damn good idea to just let it rest.  But if I can get at least one person to view gender on a strictly need-to-know basis and not as everybody else’s business, if I can avert the critical and unblinking eye of one person, and that attitude spreads, then I feel like I’ve done my part.

-And now, the big thing.  You know that gay friend of mine who I thought couldn’t see me as anything but a big, scary walking vagina?

Let’s just say things happened. 

It’s a bit delightful.  We’re kind of on a friend-with-benefits basis, which is wonderful to me.  I prefer to think that he wouldn’t become emotionally intimate with me because we’ve been friends for way too long and it would just feel odd, but he basically came right out and said he always sees me as a guy anyway.  We play video games and mess around and it’s kind of a nice guy-on-guy setup funtime type… thing.  (That sentence completely failed at not being awkward and I won’t even bother to try.) 

I almost feel weak about this, though, because I almost feel like being with a gay guy right now is less about the person and more about personal validation- “If I can be with a person who is only attracted to dicks, PERIOD, then I MUST be a guy!”  I don’t like the idea that, somewhere in my head, that’s what this is all about.  But I can’t help feeling a small amount of personal victory in this issue, either, because it does feel damn great to be with someone who couldn’t possibly see me as anything OTHER than male.

It’s also a little awkward because this is kind of an open thing involving this guy and my boyfriend.  See, at some point this summer, my boyfriend and this guy got together, and I was almost completely left out on sole virtue of having a vagina.  My boyfriend didn’t get why it hurt me so much and basically expected me to suck it up.  But now the tables have turned and this guy is waaay more comfortable with me, and is actually a little freaked out by my boyfriend, who has a lot of trouble respecting personal boundaries.  (Plus I am apparently way better at giving head.)  So now my boyfriend is butthurt, and I’m enjoying shoving it in his face just a little too much.  But it’s the first time in our open relationship that the other person actually preferred me and let my boyfriend tag along, not the other way around, and I just want him to know what the other side of the fence is like before he does it to me again. 

/end soap opera

For once, I’m on top of pretty much everything in my life, and I’m nervous that I’m getting way too happy with the power.  This isn’t me.  I’m not normally a vindictive little bitch.  But for once, the universe has fallen in such a way that I’m holding all the cards, and I want to enjoy it while it lasts.  I KNOW that this won’t last long, that I’m treading very thin ice, and that everything must fall apart sooner or later.

But DAMN it’s nice to be on top. 

(You can read into that all you want.)

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