Just Be A. . . .

posted on a board where they are discussing the relationship of doubt and the still small voice inside.  I do suffer fron analysis paralysis, and a lot of that comes from being taught to doubt the call, the desire, the bliss, the eros in the choice to cross gender expectations and want to be pretty.

The owner of the board tried to answer, first by saying that gender choices are’t really that important, are not essential. 

It’s a common dismissal, related to the dismissal so many people make, wondering why we have to actually express our own gender related thoughts and feelings rather than just keeping them inside.  Why do we have to externalize?  Because that’s the only way we can explore and mature, by externalizing our choices and getting feedback on them. 

But then this person says that I may think I am unique, but I am not.  Why can’t I be more like Vida Boheme?   They knew how to be a good transgender person, not a disturbed and disturing one with a chip on their shoulder.

Huh?  Why can’t I be more like a character from a movie fable, “To Wang Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar?”  You know why I can’t?  Because life is not a goddamn movie!

But there are so few transpeople out there that there are no other role models, real life role models of people who have transcended and gone beyond.  The ones that are out there, well, they are messy and human, not a sublimely one-dimensional cartoon.

This whole notion of trans as calling, whatever we call it, well even RuPaul holds that as hir creation myth

Retarded stuff because the role of drag queens through out history has been of the shaman or the witch doctor. Of the people who keep the myths of any culture alive and they remind every culture not to take yourself too seriously. That you are not this body. That you are much more. So you decorate it and you make fun of it. That we are all both male and female and this is not to be taken seriously.

That sounds a lot like my mission statement: In cultures where gender is rigidly bi-polar, rituals of gender crossing remind us of our continuous common humanity.

Every marginalized group has gone through the same model: “If you just keep your differences hidden, away from the sight of me and my family, keep normal appearing, then I have no problem what you do in public.” 

In other words, don’t let your messy, challenging humanity show except in walled off spaces, and you can have all the rights any other normative appearing person can have.

This is all part of the same cycle.  People pick a “good” person like you and want you to be like them, because they are the ones who are unchallenging.  You know, on the other hand, that they are the ones whose humanity, ambiguity and difference is hidden.

And it’s not just normies who erase challenging difference, ask us to stay as invisible as we have been.  I just saw one tranny dissmiss the powerful writing of Nina Arenault as the work of “a plastic fantastic who gives transwomen a bad name.”  The humanity there all dismissed by a dismissal of Nina’s choice to shape her body.  Lots of women do the same thing, recasting themselves to be desirable, and we are past the days when we believe that they are the ones who give women a bad name.  Rather, it’s the people who reduce women to one-dimensional creatures, who do that, and when you actually read Ms. Arsenault’s writing, the depth of her emotion, thought and humanity is clear.

RuPaul may understand hir context in society, may have played the cartoon supremely well, but that doesn’t mean for a minute that Ru is just a cartoon and not a full, deep, messy person. That’s quite different from “Vida Boheme,” who is a one-dimensonal cartoon, no matter how attractive that is to normies.

To have faith in who you are, you have to have faith not just in how you deny your nature, but also in how you express it. 

And all those people who think that only people who have edited out their humanity to the point of surface normativity are good, and the ones who show the mess are bad, well, fuck ’em.