Audacious Cloaks

The most audacious speech is often cloaked.

The joy of the mask is always freedom.   We are allowed to move beyond the measured and appropriate, beyond the pleasant and balanced, into exuberant truth.

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement.
But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
Niels Bohr

Truth is not some kind of forced balance or some kind of mushy compromise, truth is held in the conflict between poles, in the tension between states.   Bohr also said “anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it,” since quantum theory removes absolutes and mocks knowledge, tying together what “should” be separate and separating what “should” be connected.

To be nice in the world, we have to be equitable, rational, considerate.  Usually, that means we have to be boring, bland and without flash.

To be audacious in he world, we have to be energetic, bold, and thrusting.   We go for movement, working to engage conflict and stir emotions.

Transgender expression has always had a component of masking, of concealment which empowers audacious revelation.   We hide what conventional society expects to reveal truths which are hidden in polite discourse.

For earnest transpeople who wish to stay nice, who want the cloak to erase ambiguity rather than to venerate it, this is often hard to hear.  (“When she came out, my trans daughter threw off her ambiguity,” one mother said,” and she dumped it all onto us.”)

For me, though, the cloaked polemic has always been part of my life, speaking in tongues that take a pure position.   This is the heart of satire, taking a stance to the extremes so that the twists and absurdities inherent in it can be exposed and revealed.

Unless we playfully create such pure statements, how can we ever look at the ripples of a position, the connections that lie unspoken?   How can we ever find a way to challenge what sounds lovely when spoken as moderation but conceals deeper ramifications?

Going to extremes reveals so much, which is why society usually keeps those bits in shadow, leaving revelation only to the audacious, those who so often speak from behind masks.

This tradition of satire wrapped in a cloaked polemic is a gift that comes to is from many who have used transgender expression to reveal what lies beneath, showing continuous common humanity that is both beautiful and a bit sinister.  That revelation exposes and lets us choose which angels we will follow.

The audacity to say what isn’t “nice” but is truthful, while lubricating the rapier with wicked humour, is part of the cultural heritage that comes down to me from other queer shamans who sliced apart walls that were less than paper to reveal deep connection.

If trans expression isn’t about empowerment, playfully revealing the very human truths that lie deep within us and challenge the illusory boundaries imposed by society, then I’m not sure that I want to deal.  We are not broken people trying to find peace, we are audacious people claiming our own beauty and connection to the universe beyond convention and expectation.

The most audacious speech is often cloaked, hiding the mundane to reveal the magical.

What a gift, eh?

Make It Harder

What is green, two inches long, covers the ground and is full of cement?

The answer is grass.  I just put the cement in to make it harder.

While that is a schoolkid joke, there is wisdom in the koan.

I was reading the website of a rural life coach who lives up north.   She was burbling on about her successes, being fired from the bank, finding a new job, then finally starting to do the coaching she had trained for.  She found a place for an office, then saw an unfulfilled need from other artist tenants, someone to run their computer presence, and that is going well.   She rejected one house and another one opened up, perfect and good.

She has manifested a new job, a new house, a new job, attracting success her own beliefs, creating a life she wants.

It can’t be that simple, part of me says.   What about life, the universe and everything?   There is so much resistance and challenge, so many forces of fear and dismissal.

Her desires are simple and conventional, yes.  She is very clear on what she wants, nice and mainstream.

But she is building a good life for herself and her family, finding ways to help others and get the rewards that satisfy both her spirit and her bank account.

Why can’t owning my own life be that simple?   Is it just because I put in cement to make it harder?

My resistance to simple and easy is not in the world.   It is inside of me.  It is the result of my experience and my vision.

That doesn’t mean it is not real.   My experience as a very smart person who grew up with two Aspergers parents and was challenged to find a way to put their own trans nature in context is very different than the experience of a sweet gal growing up in a small town.   My life created a body of work that does hold some value, even if that value isn’t at all mainstream or conventional.

Grass, though, doesn’t grow lush and strong when it is poured full of cement.

I carry something of value that comes from how I stand out of the normative, but holding on to that means I have trouble getting what I need from the normative world.  Letting go of it, though, means devaluing my life experience.

Any support system that doesn’t understand, affirm and value the truths and lessons of my experience is going to just distress me.  I may know that I need to put those old bits down to move into a new, simpler life, but that isn’t the same as being asked to just throw them away as just so much junk.

One powerful thing about recovery meetings is the ability to come and share the truths that we had to put in the trunk to get on with a more balanced life.    In that space, we can unpack the trunk a bit, pulling out the old stories and have them really heard. We can listen to the stories of others that keep out life in context, both how far we have come and how much that truth still resonates within us, even if it isn’t revealed in our everyday life.

I look for others who can hold my story with grace and dignity before encouraging me to move on and create new ones.

In my experience, this is a very hard thing to find.   Most people can easily tell me what I need to release, but they don’t have the texture to know and value why I hold it in the first place.

Letting go of the cement that makes it harder is important to me.   Devaluing and rejecting that hardness, though, is not the way I can move forward.

Life is that simple, yes.   It is also that hard.   That’s why we each need support to keep those pieces in context.

Crackpot

So, what brings you in today?

I seem to be getting colder and colder, moving farther and farther away from any hope of human connection.

And you see this as a problem?

I do, yes, I do.

So what are you doing to move closer to human connection?

I look and I look and I look for opportunities to connect with other people.   Events where someone might see, understand and connect with me,

Sure.   That makes sense.   How do these work out for you?

I find that I can usually connect with other people, enter their world and offer them something that they value.

That’s great.   What is the problem there?

I also find that they have trouble connecting with me, not being able to enter my world and offer me what I need.

Have you considered the idea that you are expecting something that no one else can give you?   Are your expectations too much?

Obviously I have considered that idea.   I learned a long time ago to be grateful for any crumb or scrap of engagement that I get, to suck everything out of every moment.

Why do you think people have trouble engaging you?

One some level, they think I am a crackpot, too intense and deep for them to engage.

And why would they think that?

I am smart and fast, able to express myself in a way people find overwhelming.   Once they become overwhelmed, my communication becomes noise to them, just so much static, so they assume I have gone off the deep end.

What do they do then?

Mostly, they just move on.   A few try and help by suggesting I come back to the shallow end where the other people are, that I connect on their terms, but that feels very hard for me.

Do you think you are a crackpot?

I grew up with crackpot.   My father was a crackpot engineer, always angry that they didn’t understand what was obvious to him, and my mother was just a crackpot, having trouble getting along with other ladies.

I was trained in crackpot, sure, but the very fact that I can fluidly enter other people’s worlds, understand them and offer useful views, suggestions and information to them tells me that I am not really a crackpot.   My crackpot parents could never do that.

Most people, though, are scared of crackpot, avoid it.  They want to be one of the gang, not some idiosyncratic iconoclast who speaks ideas that no one else wants to hear.   They want to play along to get along, want to feel connected.

I don’t have that same training.  I see my following my own path, marching to my own different drummer as honest, valuable and a real honouring of my creator.

So, you don’t fear crackpot, but you still feel isolated and malnourished because people see you as one.   Why don’t you just ease up and come “back to the shallow end” as you said?

I have been deep for so long that I feel like I drown in the shallow end.   I feel erased, invisible and crippled there.

Do you understand that many people see the kind of intense thought you bring as revealing a kind of anti-social mental disorder?

Yes.   I know that.   They see me in “Unabomber” territory, putting out reams of manifesto that are just cracked noise and nonsense.

How does that make you feel?

How do you think that makes me feel?   I have struggled for decades to be clear, accessible, useful about my own experience of the world and what I have learned from that, working hard to cut way the false and mislead by testing my own thoughts against the best understanding in the world, yet people still write me off as a crackpot because my ideas are too far out of the comfortable norms.

I hate it.

So, what are you going to do about it?

What can I do about it?   Cut myself back so that I fit more nicely into the shaped holes that people already have in their mindsets?   Truncate and attenuate myself to slide into other people’s expectations? Modulate myself to not upset other people?

Over time, as you develop relationships, they can deepen and grow.   We all have to start somewhere, you know.

Right, right, right.   Just put on a pretty face and play along until others are so committed that I can expand a bit, show my deeper nature a bit, reveal myself a bit.

That’s a strategy that has never worked for me.   At some point, I have to show myself and that is the point that things go boom and people end up slipping away from me.  At some point if I can’t reveal, what the hell is the point?

Maybe there is another way for you to be in the world.

Yes, maybe there is.   But how do I learn this in a vacuum?    How do I shape my expression so that others can accept it more without having others who understand the challenge to give me feedback?    Just telling me to “do it” or to “trust” is not useful feedback.

Have you ever considered just accepting being seen as a crackpot and coming to peace with it?   Can’t you just be yourself and not care what other people think?

Clearly, that is a big part of my approach to the world.  But I am not getting what I need out of that.  I am getting colder and colder, moving farther and farther away from any hope of human connection.

And that’s a problem for you?

Arrrrgh!

Be A Friend

The only way to have a friend is to be one.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I used to think I understood what that meant.   I have always been there, passionately and in detail for people I saw as a friend.   I was ready for anything, intense and connected.

What I didn’t know how to do, though, what I never knew how to do, is kick back and be social.   I have always been bad at small talk, at going along with the gang, with doing the routine and the pleasant.

The deep part of friendship?  Got that down.

The light part of friendship?   Not so good at that.   More like a failure.  I don’t know how to just be welcoming, pal around, do acquaintance things.

Lightness, I think, requires a kind of hope, a kind of projection.    In a simple connection, everyone is a pal, everyone has the possibility of a bright future relationship.   “I love you man, I really love you.”

Of course, most average friendships fizzle a bit, just sputtering along over decades.   Only a very few move to BFF territory.

That finishing school of friendship. the lightness of  eternal hope was take away from me very early.   I had to be smart to survive,  looking deep, staying moves ahead, hiding and protecting my tender and queer inner soul.

I tried manipulation for a while, but I was too honest for the game,  It didn’t work for me, didn’t fit me, and it got in the way of finding honesty.

I read people and situations fast, and I read them pretty accurately.     I’m good at deep.

That has always, though, made me crappy at light.   It makes me very bad at first friend stuff.

Though I can be a great friend, I am really bad at just being an average friend.  Most friendships start as average friendships and then deepen, so if you can’t do average, you can’t really get started on the road to something more.

As I look at events where I can meet people, I wonder if they are worth my effort.  Will I make connections, find what I need?

If I can’t just be an average friend, just shooting the shit and blathering a bit, then the probability is that I can’t really make an average friend, make a friendship that might develop or might lead to other contacts through invitations and such.

Somehow, being average and pleasant has never been something I am good at.   Smart and intense, with x-ray vision is much more my style.   That can make you novel and amazing, but rarely makes you just one of the gal pals.

I still suspect Emerson was thinking about deeper friendship when he spoke abut being a friend, moving beyond the acquaintance stage, but his thought is clear on the other end, too.

The only way to have an average friend is to be one.   Just be loose and get jiggy with it.

That’s not so easy for me.

Eyeballs

Barney Frank was once outed by his eyeballs.

In an interview about his new autobiography “Frank” on Fresh Air, he tells of being read by another gay man.  This fellow had watched Frank’s eyes looking at the same things — the same men — as he did.

I know other people outed that way.   A woman at a Halloween party read the Legendary Barbara because she saw Babs looking at women, not men.  Sure, that could have meant she was a lesbian, but no lesbian would have been so perfectly Barbied up.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t see my own eyes.   But I knew what made my head turn, what attracted my attention on a deep, instinctive level.

When TBB did our top ten list of the lies crossdressers tell, one of the entries was “Honest,Honey!  I was looking at her legs, not her shoes!”

My head turned — and it still turns — for women.  I just find women much more fascinating than men.

Publishers have long known that women like looking at pictures of good looking men and also like looking at pictures of women.   That’s not so true of men, who mostly have resisted looking at pictures of men.

Fashion and pinup photography has long centred on images of women for this reason.   Men like looking at well dressed women and so do women, though women read the photographs in a different way, viewing them in the same way that they assess other women.  We read style clues to get a story out of the appearance, extracting context.

Women do a lot with that context, from judging the beauty of ensembles to decoding story, from triggering memories to finding suggestions about what would work for our own presentation.   The marking of women means we convey a lot of information through our appearance, and being able to read that is one of the first steps in woman’s cultural literacy.

Men’s reading of women is usually much simpler and less nuanced than women’s reading, looking at shapes and colours, missing nuance, because they have no need to learn the complex symbolic language.

I watch women mostly because their markings make them much more fascinating to me as they reveal so many more details and layers.  Like so many women, I understand men better by the women they are connected to, one reason that it has always been important to reveal the candidate’s wife.  How she speaks of  him and how he treats her tells us a great deal.

Much like Barbara, though, men have never made my heart flutter in the way that they do for Mr. Frank.   Elegant, mature butch women, on the other hand, do snap my head, at least when I move past the sublimation of desire that is at the centre of my hermetic aesthetic denial.   TBB laughed when I described my first sexual encounter, one where I wasn’t cocky enough to make the sweaty bits work, but was with a woman who later identified as a soft-butch.  Yes.

The more I have stopped fighting to hide my tender, feminine heart the more I can acknowledge the charms of men.   For me, though, those charms are in wit, devotion, curiosity and intellectual passion and not really in the hard muscles and cocky behaviour that so often get straight girls worked up.   I like the human side more than the male side.

The focus of our deep attention is always revelatory.  Not having to resist that focus opens up our possibility for happiness.

It takes an open personality to be a good legislator, according to Mr. Frank. While he was trying to stay in the closet the grumpiness that accompanied the chronic irritation of denying his heart really showed.  When he came out, he was able to come from a happier, more open place and he got better at his job, moving into leadership.

I know how much denying what turned my head cost me, even if I knew from a very young age what tickled my passion.  So much of my own energy was burned off in waste heat rather poured into the work that can make a full life, that can contribute so much to building family and community.

Our choices reveal the contents of our heart, and the choices that we make unconsciously, like with our eyeballs, reveal the deepest parts.  Eyes on stalks are connected to our deepest desires.

Being able to work with those desires, to trust our eyeballs, lets us mature finding our own strength rather than having to fight to stay hidden, denying it.

We have to trust the eyeballs.

Now, Then, Forever

The idea that transgender emergence draws some kind of a huge boundary between the fake you before and the real you afterwards just freaks me out.

I do know that this is a common way to talk about what is often called “transition,” a kind of tipping point where the way that you define yourself in the world changes.   Now you are “real,” “authentic,” “genuine” and your narrative can be trusted.

Why is this concept so useful to transpeople?

By playing into the idea of the binary — then/now, before/after, man/woman, real/false — we are able to comfort those around us who like separations rather than challenge them with connection.    The idea that somehow everything is different draws a comforting line in the sand, assuring the world that yes, binaries and boundaries are true and do matter.

It is also a very attractive notion that we can wipe away responsibility for our past choices — the choices of concealment & denial — with one bold step.  If everything we did back then was because of social pressure, not our true choices, then we don’t have to answer for them.   This idea that we can wipe away a lifetime of choices as just past and corrupt is very appealing.

I have seen transgender people drop responsibility to their children and relationships because they are new now and I have called out that behaviour.   I don’t believe that the “truth” of transition makes everything in our lives before that point false, corrupt and unreal.

My coming out narrative was about integration, not separation.  I wanted to more deeply engage gender play and expression in order to work to find my centre.   My approach, starting by trying out an explicit “guy-in-a-dress” mode, was very challenging to the binaries of those around me.

The standard narratives celebrated the binary.   For crossdressers, the story was that they were femme for a night, taking on a woman’s name for an evening of transsexing themselves.   The transsexual story was that they were really women, being about to or already throwing away any identity as a man to emerge as someone new, someone true, someone different.

Even in those days, I understood that emergence — coming out — wasn’t a momentary event, but a lifetime process.   Every human is challenged to drop their old armour, their old rationalizations, their old myopia, their old fears and show a more authentic, exposed and vulnerable self to the world. We all have to work to get clear, become integrated, work towards righteous, towards actualization.

This process is not rooted in denial of past choices but in understanding them, using choices that we would not make today as guideposts for making better choices in the future.   We learn to take responsibility for our life, owning it and shaping it in new, better ways, not just drawing a line and saying “before that, I was a sinner.”

Revelation and salvation are amazing, even rebirths, but they are part of a whole human life, not the creation of a new one.

TBB, who spent her time being midwife to those who chose surgery in Trinidad, saw many who wanted genital reconstruction as rebirth.  Her own reasons for surgery, though, are more pragmatic.

“I realized that I wasn’t using my own penis, that I didn’t plan to use it in the future.   It created challenges, from the locker room to the bedroom, where partners assumed if I had it, I should use it,” she told me.  “So I chose not to carry it around with me anymore.  That did draw a kind of line in my life, stopping people from trying to convince me I would be better off going back to live as a guy, and making me more comfortable getting naked, but it didn’t cut off my past or my responsibilities as a father.  Surgery didn’t make me a different person.”

In the heroes journey, she is reborn, both new and what she always was.   It is the chapters of our experience that tell the tale of our whole life, no matter how different the setting or the attitude.    Truth is not just in what we claim today, it is in the sweep of our lives, even in the times where we postured, concealed, and ran.

This makes stories much more complicated and nuanced, less able to be told in a a few tweets or in one TED talk.    It demands more of listeners, demands the willingness and ability to see a human life beyond simple codes and borders, beyond the marketing oversimplification we have learned to expect.

It may be simpler to assert only who you believe that you are in the moment, dismissing the time before your last transformation, but it isn’t true, healthy or sacred.  It doesn’t let you connect with those who might reflect times when you showed a different face, doesn’t open you with compassion to those who also struggle with what you did.

There is a reason that people in recovery stand up and say “I am an alcoholic,” no many how many years of sobriety they have under their belt.   They may not be a drunk today, or even for years now, but that truth and humanity is deeply inside of them and they share it with others who still actively struggle.

I understand the cries of “I was living a lie and now I am living in truth!”   It seems an easy way avoid the possibility of having our past held against us by feeding the binary.   It works the same way that people who enter into same-gender relationships late in life often claim that they are now and always were gay and not bisexual, whatever their ex-spouse says.

Claiming a retroactive consistency to assert some kind of purity which sanctifies your current choices doesn’t open the world for truth and possibility.   Instead it rationalizes and strengthens the closet, confining everyone still finding themselves until they are able to be one or the damn other.

Humans do the best they can do to juggle social expectations, inner knowledge, needs and desires in the world.   We assume guises that let us play the role which works for us in the moment, even while underneath we are much more complicated, messy and real.   Allowing people to show their own ragged humanity without having to deny other parts of it seems crucial to unlocking more human potential.

We are so many realities, so many snapshots, so many moments all bound up in a continuum of time.   We are always both visible and invisible, both revealing truth and concealing it, because while we can have it all, we cannot have it all at once.

Who you are is made up of many facets.   The more you own them, even the facets that you are not proud of, the more you sparkle and shine in the world as a full, complete and beautiful person.

Rejecting your past does not make it untrue.   It doesn’t cut it away from who you are.  Living a life based on who you are not — “I am not that man you thought you saw! — leaves you in a reactionary and defensive footing.

You are the result of who your creator made you and the choices you made to embrace & polish or to resist & deny your gifts.  Your power and beauty doesn’t just come from the nice parts of you, it comes from your wounds too.

People who seem to be trying to run from their lives so they can assert that now they are pure & holy freak me out a bit.   I find their denial kind of scary, wondering what else they want to erase out of fear.   My voice, perhaps?

Becoming real is becoming integrated, about moving beyond simple binaries to nuanced, complex and beautiful exposed humanity.

Or at least it is to me.

Not Here, Not There

I very much want the same thing I wanted as a young child, lying in bed and praying that I would wake up as a female, being able to assimilate in the world as a woman.

What I knew even then, though, was that I needed to be myself, to hold on to what made me unique.   The limits of femaling my body were clear to me, so I only prayed for a miracle, not for some kind of medical intervention.

As I look to claim some space in society again, look to getting back on the grid, I need to consider where I can fit.   It needs to be a place where I can fit with my own heart, my own history and my own expression, and it needs to be a plac where I can fit into social structures, being a part of the group.

Wild and Tame are the primary duality of humans, as I have written about for over twenty years now, the challenge we have of both being unique & individual while also being well assimilated & fitting in.

How much of myself am I willing to cut off to fit in?   How much will doing that really change how people see me?

Learn to lie or be called a liar was at the heart of this dilemma when I first came out in the late 1980s.   I passed through periods where others wanted me to surrender my challenging voice to the group, staying silent to not upset the status quo.   Today, the challenge is around trans as other, standing proud while also being politically correct and supporting feminist models.

I am continuously reminded, though, of how much I don’t fit, how much assimilation will always be denied to me.

One person kindly suggests that I need to join a larger community, like that of a church or a recovery program, being able to find my commonality with a wide range of people, understanding my essential humanity.

When I have tried that, when other transpeople have tried that, I have found that the real challenge is having them find their commonality with me.   My narrative crosses lines that they think are hard and fast,  so they have difficult really engaging my story.

People often want to substitute their knowledge for my own knowledge about my experience.   Looking through fresh eyes, going back to basics is always valuable, allowing us to get outside our own expectations and assumptions.

Often, though, those other viewpoints miss nuance and concerns that are real and important, simplifying beyond understanding.  When scholars look at variations of handwritten biblical texts they prefer the more complicated & challenging version as they work to roll back the tendency to simplify and remove nuanced meaning.  I have spent much energy negotiating other people’s fears, having other people dismiss my reality and replace it with their own.

Another group running a mastery course for women tells me that while they find me brave and abject, that their women’s space isn’t really for people like me.    I am not welcome there.

The message becomes clear: you are a man, albeit a man in a dress, and as long as you are ready to accept that line, you are welcome.   The best you can ever be is a warrant woman.

I have lived my life as a gender variant man, restricted by the heterosexist convention that people are defined, always and forever, by the shape of their birth genitals and not by the shape pf their heart.  Even feminists who support transgender expression have usually expressed that belief, grouping people easily by biology and “learned experience.”

To be accepted as a woman, I have to make big parts of me invisible.  If I do that, though. I lose what makes me special and unique.

To people who see reproductive sex as fundamental, teal, true, simple, inerrant and unchangeable, this isn’t a big deal.   I should just accept my fate and get on with it, accepting the conventional wisdom of sex differences.

To transpeople, especially queer transpeople, who know that people are defined by their character and revealed by their choices, not by their birth biology, this has always been the challenge.   We may be able to change the appearance of our biology somewhat, but to be defined by our looks feels oppressive, to have our role compulsorily constrained by our birth genitals feels abusive.

People do that, though, easily and without thought.

When I look at a meetup of mature women getting together for “entertainment and camaraderie” I have to consider how I fit into that group.   Do I have to make my own trans history invisible?   What happens if people clock me, or worse, read me out?   Am I safe there?    Do I make others unsafe?

Is that space for people like me?

It’s easy for people to say “well, you are just a human and humans are welcome,” but the fact is that gender defines so much of how we shape our spaces.   This is the secret truth beneath the bathroom fight which so often erupts as an anti-trans posturing: should we allow people who are “really” whatever to enter that safe space?

When you don’t fit in man land and don’t fit in woman land you end up occupying that No Man’s/No Woman’s land that defines the battleground between the genders.  That is a dangerous place, with missiles coming from both sides.

The moment when your gender changes in someone’s eyes is always terrifying, tossing you into enemy camp, a deceiver who doesn’t respect something you see as fundamental.

If the solution for this challenge is only to enter neutral spaces, then you are forced off the grid, with not only no public restroom or dressing room, but also no safe space to find “entertainment and camaraderie.”

I have told my story as a transperson for many decades now, as clearly, truthfully and elegantly as I know how to do it.   I have worked hard to be gracious, respectful and considerate.

My experience is that people often find it interesting. but they rarely find it connective, getting the joke and wanting to enter dialogue and relationship with me.   They are OK when I reveal my commonality with them, seeing them clearly, but engaging their commonality with me, seeing me clearly, is just too much to ask.

My challenge is getting connected with the world.   People tell me to enter shared space, but they also resist me entering spaces that they wish to remain well policed.  They want me to modulate and attenuate myself so I am not challenging to the separations that they value, not intrusive upon their comforting divisions.

Self policing is part of shame.   It is part of that inhibitory shame my mother passed on to all her children, making us ashamed when we revealed our humanity and exuberance in ways that stimulated her own treasured narcissistic martyrdom.

How do I both become new and stay neatly in the box others want to put me in?

It is reported that Bruce Jenner, coming up on a big and hyper public transgender emergence, is feeling lonely these days.  Welcome to the club.  There is a reason I have had that tag line on this blog since 2005.  I was tranny when tranny wasn’t trendy.

I want to fit in.  Getting sliced up and still find that I am not safe to enter never seemed like an option for me.

I reach out to find spaces and I am knocked back, much like I have been for many decades now.

Finding a place where I am seen, understood, valued and affirmed has been an almost impossible task.

Some may suggest that I should accept that this challenge may mean I am off the mark, not healthy, and need to assimilate more, letting go of queerness and accepting convention and conventional boundaries.   To me, after such a struggle, that feels like destruction.

Not finding safe & affirming space, though,  makes it very hard to get a bigger connection with the wider world, getting back on the grid.

Do I need to be more tamed, more assimilated, at the cost of erasing my hard won knowledge?   Or do I need to hold on to my bold, individual and unique voice, even if that tenacity leaves me hungry?

What kind of destruction should I choose?

That’s the question that I, as a transperson erased by this culture, have struggled with all my life.