Places

TBB has found a place for herself.

Very, very, very few places have ever placed a classfied ad for a resident shaman. You know, someone to negotiate change & transformation around the place, helping the organization find ways to be new and moving the place forward. I mean, even if they did place that ad, would they find one?

It’s in reworking the information infrastructure that TBB has made her most obvious magic. They just hired her to clean up a bit, but they found she has the vision and the skills to see what needs to be done and do it, and that makes her valuable.

Plus, the place where she works has already come to grips with having trannys around. That’s a big deal.

The problem I have found with finding a place for myself isn’t that I don’t have lots to give. It’s that few organizations have identified that they need what I have, and identified that including visionaries in gives benefits. You can’t easily put on a business plan that you are going to hire someone to make magic, to take you places and offer solutions you didn’t have the vision to see for yourself. Business plans offer bounds to visions, and those bounds offer limits to growth.

It’s not like you don’t have to get the routine done, I understand that. It’s just that doing things better is always better, even if that’s not something in which it is easy to invest.

They like TBB where she is. They have figured out that they need to let her do things her own way, at least a little bit, that you can’t harness her to the plow and also ask her to run. And they have figured out that letting her have her head offers benefits to the whole organization that they can’t quantify as some interchangable and easily filled job description.

It’s not if we are of value. It’s if people can see that we are of value, find us, and let us create in the community. We aren’t going to have obvious records of success, and aren’t going to just be one of the boys, or even be just one of the girls. We are going to be the flexible bit, the one who opens connections and creates new pathways, new possibilities, new solutions.

I just don’t know how to tell anyone who doesn’t understand that how valuable that can be. I just can’t negotiate their fears in order to give them time to find my value. That thirdhand fear can be a killer.

The problem with the places we find, though, is that they don’t really exist in the world, rather they only exist in the minds of the people who have come to know and accept us. Our table at lunch may be an accepting & affirming space, but the next table over may be one that is fearful, dangerous & hateful to us. I know this may be true for anyone, but visibly ambiguous queers have a different kind of stigma we live with, one where as simple an act as going to the restroom can be dangerous.

To negotiate this challenge, TBB does what many trannys do, what Alexis Arquette did on Surreal Life, for example. She doesn’t make the choices of a woman, even though people close to her accept her as one of the girls, rather she makes the more limited, cicumspect and circumspect choices of a guy-in-a-dress. She self-polices and prempts challenges by outing herself in ways that put her down, defuse her power and therefore her threat.

TBB thinks she does a bit too much of this, because she knows it is a defense, a way of playing small that limits the expression of how feminine she actually is.

I think she does a lot too much of this because I see how womanly she is and how she pulls back from trusting that beauty and the connections & power that come with it. TBB is amazing, and every time she puts herself down & plays small to stay safe, the world loses some powerful & transformative love.

I have often said that gender is like wine — everyone can tell the difference between red and white, but being able to appreciate a white wine made from red grapes takes the palate of someone who has the experience to appreciate nuance. It’s only people who have had experience with a range of genders who look beyond the initial color to find what’s truly shining in the glass, seeing what lies within.

I don’t trust just my eyes on assigning gender, I also trust my ears & my heart. There are places where people open to the choices peple make, but unfortunately, those places are right next to places where people just have simple stereotypes based on fear and assumptions of clear separations.

I’m thrilled that TBB has found a place where people appreciate and value her for what she can offer, what she can offer because she is so comfortable in her own skin.

I’m just sad that she can’t offer more because she always has to have the self-effacing and self-reducing armor ready to put on in an instant to stop her from making the choices of her heart and keep her feeling safe in a world that so often feels dangerous for us.