I was talking to a friend last night about her Second Life. She plays a role in that virtual world and loves it, especially because her current job is one of those soul-crushing clean-up-other-people’s-messes-the-way-we-tell-you things.
The best part for her is that because in the game no one knows she is a big transsexual woman, no one carries for her the expectations people put on trannies. You know, the expectation that because we can do what others fear to do, we are strong and potent, beyond feeling vulnerable or hurt, beyond needing the help of normies. They assume that since we have dealt with our fears we have some obligation to manage the fear of others, that we are tough enough to absorb the blows and still offer good, heart-warming legends. It’s a much like being a costumed character at a pizza joint, where kids assume you are a cartoon, so you can take the punches and abuse with a smile.
My friend isn’t a tranny because she wanted to be an activist and writer, someone negotiating the way society stigmatizes and pressures into compliance. My friend is a tranny because she knew she is a woman, and in choosing between the armor of playing man or the armor of being out and trans, at least one let her try to show her heart & beauty.
So, in this virtual world she can walk unshelled, just another avatar doing their thing, learning to be the pretty and giving one rather than the big and scary one. And to her, this is a delight.
Trannys, I said long ago, aren’t best categorized by TV/TS/TG/DQ/FTM/MTF and so on. Trannys are best categorized by how they choose to defend themselves in the world, what armor they choose to wear. Remember the Six Approaches? Conceal – Concede – Confront – Convert – Clown – Calm
It’s the exoskeletons we grow that define us, be they well camouflaged passing suits, gender queer “fuck gender” drag, bristling “fuck-you/fuck-off” attack weapons, blood stained cloth robes that reveal our wounds, or other kinds of armor, from hot drag gowns to butched up denim, bubbles of ignorance to wanking mini-skirts. They all start as an expression of defense and end up molding our expression and our lives to fit inside of them.
It’s damn hard to change armour. To do so you have to get naked, see how you have been scarred and warped by your old suit, and then you have to find something new that fits you, that you can grow into in a new way. That’s why virtual places are so important, even if so many on the internet don’t want to celebrate the power of virtual experimentation & rehersal, preferring instead to try and ground others so they can be attacked or dismissed.
It’s hard to find a safe place to be unshelled, to be able to dance in another skin and find how you can be beyond the carpace you have learned to carry. My friend is doing that and it feels good — more power to her.
But me, in my wounded healer vestments?
Exsanguination seems like a relief, don’tcha know….