I was looking at Talking Tranny for a bit. It’s a nice podcast centered site put together by a transitioning transwoman.
While in the forums, I followed a link to see what’s new at Lipstick Conspiracy, and ended up again seeing Tori Tait‘s bio. I think I talked with Tori at IFGE Portland 1996, as she was just coming out.
I heard from that Brit Tori a few years later, and her story was one of intense exploration, lots of experimentation with men, women, jobs and personae. It was fascinating to me, but simple it wasn’t.
I’m sure I have complained on here that the most often heard voice of trannys is the voice of transitioning trannys, our own little adolesecents who want to speak up of what they believe. The voice of mature trannys just isn’t heard as often.
In the past I have attributed this to the fact that more mature trannies have learned to keep their heads down, are blending in better, don’t need to posture in public in the same way as adolescents.
But in looking at the contast between what Susan shares and what Tori shared with me, I think there may be another issue at hand.
Transitioning tranny stories are easy to understand because they follow the script. They are climbs towards what must surely be an eventual sunny and positive outcome, the transition that makes everything work. It is the hero fighting the usual demons — family, work, medicos, money, etc — to gain the ultimate reward.
Transitioned tranny stories, though, well, they are not so easy. It’s not a simple hero quest, it’s a deeply nuanced story of how all the forces of history, relationship, possibility and destiny come together to shape an indvidual human life as unique as a tree. They are less pleasant to read because they aren’t leading to a happy ending, and less easy to understand because they don’t follow any conventional script.
Tranny autobiographies, as Dallas Denny once pointed out, often follow a model structure that start with tragedy and end with redemption, all clean and simple and saleable.
But tranny lives, well, they aren’t so neat. The tranny path is a path to indvidual empowerment, as Jamison Green has often said. But unique indvidual lives are well, unique and indvidual. Even if we could draw a neat though line, how can we find the language to express feelings and ideas that most people have never felt or thought?
Maybe the reason that we hear so much from baby trannys isn’t because grown-up trannys aren’t speaking, but rather that we have learned that people can’t or won’t hear our story. An upbeat hero quest is one thing, but the aging of the hero as she attempts to return the gifts she found in the wilderness to a society that doesn’t want those gifts (if they wanted them, they would have them,) well, that’s not easily coded into buzzwords.
The stories of grown up trannys are not so easy to tell because they demand engaging nuance, ambiguity and death.
Maybe that’s why people keep looking for upbeat, hopeful, immature trannies to define a community, and why the real elders dissapear.