So, where has all this chatter been going?
To me, it comes down to one thing: this is a heterosexist world, and there isn’t much room for people outside the binary. You can bend and expand inside the categories, but you gotta make a choice.
And that means you are either a man(in-a-dress), or a woman(of-trans-experience).
Choices must be made. And the truth is that I have made that choice. I can’t pass as a man except for simple observation of my body. It has always been work for me to try and fit as a man, a difficult performance. This is a key reason why I have stayed invisible as a man, keeping my head down & keeping away from relationships and group dynamics. In this week’s collumn, Dan Savage notes that most people have no idea what to do, so they cruise in packs, groups of girls, bundles of boys, trying to find something. When you aren’t one of those, it’s easy to fall out of the system.
The only question is if I can keep the faith on that question in the world. How much do I let people’s fundamentalist assumptions put me in hiding, in shame, in the shadows? How much do I stay gracious, appropriate and dead, and how much do I stay bold, present and alive?
To keep my center is to keep my power, standing proud in my truth rather than cowering in the fears & expectations of others. And for a femme, a femme shaman, whose maternal instinct sweeps her into the feelings & thoughts of others, who searches for a kind of peace, well, that’s hard magic.
I’ll tell you a secret. When I take off my high-heeled boots, even after twelve hours, I feel the urge to jump in the air a bit, because I feel too short, too diminished. Those heels are a part of me, as many women understand.
It is wearing to stay an adolescent for so long. I watch the young femmes, and I know the terrain of their struggle intimately, because I don’t have the relationships that can move me into the next step of maturity, of partnering & building a life, of mothering & building a future.
There is no doubt in my mind that appearing as a man is the bigger lie, even if that appearance makes others comfortable because it plays into their assumptions that males and females are somehow different, and not just all part of a continuous common humanity. My truth is much, much more on the side of woman, and always has been, even with the expectations dumped onto me.
I remember a correspondent thinking that with my size, I could never pass. I can’t say that I pass as a woman born female; every tranny has a “passing distance,” from within which their biology or history comes visible.
What I can say is that when most people see me, man-in-a-dress is not the first thing that they think. The kids offering the marketing surveys in the mall say “Ma’am, may I ask you some questions?” and cashiers reffer to me as she. There are a hundred things that code who we are, from outfit to makeup to the way we move, to the look in our eyes, and thay all come from attitude & training, not from some simple biological test.
I have been a tranny every day of my life. There is no doubt about that whatsoever. The only question is what is more honorable, more ethical, being explicit about my chromosomes or being explicit about my heart.
I know what TBB says, that the world needs me, that it needs me claiming my heart & my happiness so I have much to give. “Your success is a gift to the world,” my phone reminds me when it powers up. I understand that I can walk in the world as a transwoman with success.
I know who I am.
And I know what people are trying to silence and erase, to stay comfortable.
Ain’t I A Woman?