Psychiatrist

My father, when he wanted to talk with me, told me “I don’t understand.  I’m not a psychiatrist.”

I didn’t like the idea that the only person he thinks could understand me was a psychiatrist.  I must be very sick, eh?

My sister dismissed the comment as a turn of phrase.  “He’s not saying that he thinks that you are so sick only a psychiatrist could help you, he’s just saying that he doesn’t understand.”

I’m not sure that’s true.

I agree, of course, that he’s saying he doesn’t understand the way I think, and that means communications between us are frustrating and techy for him.

But I tend to believe he does think I am sick.  Why else would he have bought into the crap that my sister’s “friend” send about mental disease, printing it out and confronting me with it?

He has tried to use Dr. Phil’s wisdom to show me where I am sick.  Since I understand it more than he does, I can usually show counter examples from Mr. McGraw’s litany to counter, but that doesn’t really mollify him, just shows him I am smart, well defended and sick.

I know he loves me, and I know he wants the best.

He just can’t imagine that the best would be incomprehensible to  his understanding, that it would be so deviant that only a psychiatrist would understand.

As you might guess it’s not a good day, and things don’t show any sign of getting better until well after his surgery next Monday (July 9.)

And boy, could I use some healing before that trial.

I Need A Straight Man

I need a straight man.

No, not a heterosexual male, although it would be fine if they were.

I need a real straight man, one who sets up and sells the jokes, someone who plays the part of the good audience, to show them how to respond, to help the performer get over.

Straight men (and women) have always been rare.  Bud Abbott not only got billing over Lou Costello, he also got a bigger piece of the paycheck.  That’s the way it was in vaudeville, where funny guys were all over the place, but guys who could front the funny were rare.

Some of my happiest moments have been playing straight.  I love doing the interview, helping someone else find the funny.  It’s a treat to do that kind of empowerment, to be part of the polishing that lets others shine.

My sister even trusts me to sell her jokes for her, so she does a bit and is happy when I sell it with a take or such.  She’s not much of a joker, but likes to be supported.

But damn, that’s not enough for me.  It’s when I try to speak and then get shut down that it is the hardest for me.   Where the hell is the support to make it work?

I need a straight man, of any sex or gender, who be there to help sell.

And I have almost no hope of ever finding one.

Too Absurd To Be True

On 6/27/07, Ms. Rachelle  wrote:

I’m at Goddard, where I always think of you because of your brilliant observations about writing. 

I have several comments of yours in my permanent notebook for teaching. 

It’s nice you think of me now and then.

But it is odd to hold the notion that I could talk to someone who understands what I say, let alone someone who values it.

No. That idea just seems to absurd to ever be true.   I’m just too hip for the room

May happiness dance next to you.

C


Scope Of Community

As I said to Gwyneth in a comment here, I think the idea of a “trans community” is a wrong direction.

In my experience, there just aren’t enough transpeople to create the diversity needed for community.  Instead, we offer something special to a wider community, shamans spread across groups to help them function and thrive.

The problem with a separate transgender community
is that you can’t make solid and stable structures
using only the bendy pieces.
Callan Williams

I don’t want to fight for trans rights and trans enclaves.  Rather, I want to fight for supporting the individual amongst the group, fight for brave, bold, elegant and powerful individuality in the face of social norms.

To me, the term for that respect and expression of individuality is queer, an old term for the wild and primal queerness that makes us unique, special and valued.

Too much assimilation and we lose our own gifts.  Too much deviance and we lose our connection to the wider community.  Both are important, both are vital.  We need cohesion, and we need challenge, we need dependence and independence, an interdependence based on the fact that we are unique individuals who need to work together to make our world better.

I have come to the conclusion that thinking of the transgender community is thinking in too small a scope to ever succeed.  Instead, we need to look past group boundaries to find connection, support and weight to create change.

Are the boundaries of our community the boundaries of our world —
or are the boundaries of the world the boundaries of our community?
Lorena Monroe

Internecine fighting is the outcome when we come from scarcity thinking, trying to fight for the scraps that we presume is all there is.

It is only the notion of abundance that offers us the possibility of cooperation, the idea that by working together we can create more, enough for all to share.

To stay transgender-focused is to stay mired in scarcity thinking, and mired in in-fighting.

If I am going to have any hope, I need a bigger hope, a hope that everyone can be valued and respected in a wider world, that our gifts can again be part of the human understanding, insight that moves beyond illusory barriers to connection, to the veneration of continuous common humanity.

My calling seems to be around that wider work, not about transgender but about valuing the queer bits of those around us.

And that’s a bigger scope.

Learning From Each Other

One of the most important things a leader can do is being able to learn from the experience of others.

While,

We should be careful
to get out of an experience
only the wisdom that is in it – and stop there;
lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid.
She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again,
and that is well;
but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.
Mark Twain

learning from experience is the only way to get better.

When I see people who style themselves as leaders but who don’t want to listen to the tales of people who have been there before, I have to question if that call to leadership is from service or ego.

I remember trying to coach Merissa Sherill Lynn on how to answer queries about Dallas Denny, saying “While we might not always see eye to eye on issues, there is so much work to be done in educating the world about trans that every effort needs to be valued, and Dallas has contributed much.”

Needless to say, those words turned to clay in her mouth.

(That was the meeting where after, a born female woman said “I like you! You know how to say “Fuck You!” in so many nice ways!” Ah, management skills.)

Men are made to be managed,
and women are born managers.
George Meredith

It is important not to be stopped by previous failures, that is true.

But not learning from those who have been there before, well, not a good management strategy.

Leadership As Service

It was many years ago now, but I went to a meeting in Asheville where they were talking about creating an LGBT community center.

I like good meetings because I like good process. I give good meeting, facilitating expression and creating consensus without dull, earnest gimmicks from the manual.

I saw the direction of this meeting and so I asked to speak.

“Raise your hand if you think it would be nice to have a community center here,” I asked.

Most people raised their hand. It would be nice to have such a facility, all agreed.

“Raise your hand if you think having a community center is a top priority that you would be willing to put other priorities aside to work on.”

No one raised their hand. It might be nice to have a community center, but no one really had the passion to lead the drive to make it happen. At that moment, everyone in the meeting knew that the time we spent together was just blowing bubbles.

There is no staff in the queer community. We can’t just tell someone to make it happen, not unless we also give them the resources they need, in money & attention.

What we will do is what you will do and what I will do. Unless one of us leads, it won’t happen.

The biggest problem with building community functions in Smallbany (and community functions are what create community), as the “Uniting As Allies” work shop revealed so long ago, is the lack of leadership, which follows directly from the lack of support for leaders. This is a state-government based town where entrepreneurial spirit is not at the fore, and so the natural enthusiasm and encouragement doesn’t happen here so much. (This is not new — Albany audiences were known for “sitting on their hands” since the 1800s)

It is almost impossible for those who don’t lead to encourage others who do, because those others have not yet embraced the leadership & power that they hold inside, and that rejection is often focused on others. As long as we think it’s someone else’s job to be the parent, the one who gets the functions of community done, we will expect others to satisfy us, and, like a child, kick at them when they do not, rather than taking responsibility for our needs, and for leadership in the community.

Leadership is service, and service to those who do not honor their own obligation to service is eventually a wearing and exhausting act.

As any parent will tell you, working with and for others is challenging, because others come with their own worldview and their own desires.

Around transgender, I have seen lots of people create self-selecting social clubs and call that community. Those clubs are created around shared desires & belief structures, and those who might challenge the structures are shown the door.

What all these self-selecting clubs do is erase the needs, concerns and challenges of people who aren’t like them. When the leaders of these forums then hold their little whatevers up as a shining example of community that we should all follow, well, that rankles.

Healthy communities use diversity to create strength rather than purging it to create enclaves.

So these are the questions I would ask at any meeting where people claim to want community:

— Are you ready to face challenges to your desires & belief structures in order to create community?

— Are you ready to serve the community with your own leadership?

— Are you ready to affirm and encourage the leadership role of others, even if they don’t do things as you would do them?

— Are you ready to do your work of creating community functions, rather than just complaining that no one agrees with you and no one is doing what you believe should be done?

Leadership is service. And, as many of those who have tried to lead in the “transgender community” have found, unless leadership is valued, creating shared functions is impossible.

Community happens when we set aside pain and ego to create shared functions.

In a population of people who are claiming the ego right to be an individual, and who have been pounded with pain into the closet, that setting aside pain and ego is often impossible.

I AM TRUTH!

I just read some summaries of the “build community” public forum.

To me, it sounds like a rush program, where various sororities tell you why they are the best and you should pledge with them and be a true XXX for the rest of your life.

I mean, why else allow to speak an avowed transsexual separatist who has a long history of lashing out at others who offer any real challenge to her tenets of transsexual faith?

Crazy & destructive.

I mean, I know that one of the most wearing things I have to do as a changeling is to hold open the possibility that you can and will change. The odds are, like the fox who eats the turtle in the middle of the river, you will be what you have been, act in the same way. Still, unless I stand for the possibility of transformation, of change beyond history & expectation, what do I stand for at all?

It seems to me that the “trans communities” are usually an attempt to enforce some kind of truth, a way to make concrete some shared beliefs so they will be seen as more valid. “We are just crossdressers,” “transsexuality is cured by genital reconstruction,” “gay men in dresses are just goofing and aren’t really men,” “transmen who reject the masculine are the wave of future manhood,” whatever.

I was once at a party where I spoke about how performative New York City is. All these people, in their vast warren of sets, starring in their own movies, with all the props you could ever want at hand.

The woman I was chatting with liked the idea, as it resonated with her, but started getting upset that I thought those performances were untrue, that performativity was bad.

I assured her that I hadn’t said anything bad about performance. I liked it.

But when she saw the behaviours and personalities she enjoyed in that way, some negative had come up in her. If they were performances, does that mean that they were false, that somehow they could be dismissed? Wasn’t this bad, identifying people as performative?

Yeah. That’s the issue. We have this cultural expectation that truth is hard and fixed and real, and that performance is ephemeral and shallow and false.

And when those hard-liners go on stage at a rush rally, they usually feel some need to explain why they are solid & real, and then go on to show the dissonance, contradictions & cracks in others performances.

But this is, of course, the ultimate challenge of trans. Whatever you are now is not what you were identified as before, the biological & historical bits that many people believe are fixed and immutable are now different. This gives them standing to show the dissonance, contradictions & cracks in your life.

In the end, this is why so many feel the need to claim that they are now fixed and real, and that the way they chose to realness is the only true path, the only truth path.

And that belief, I suspect, is what has always blocked building community now.

longest day

I wanted to take off this, the longest day of the year.

But when I heard the TV on at 3AM, I went up to check on my mother, who has slept in her chair, and then couldn’t get back to sleep, and on a 4AM trip to the can, got caught for a 30 minute “conversation” (read “rambling monologue”)

It was off at 7:30AM to get the windscreen replaced, and then harried shopping to find my sister a part, a component of how yesterday morning, which I was going to grab for myself, was filled with fixing her current car, before cleaning my parents car and nursing then through a trip, and finishing up coming back from my sister’s house at 9:30 PM

And now for shampoo and rug cleaner, and then car juggling and maybe a family meet the boyfriend dinner, buttons pushed with parents spending sums I can barely imagine ever having again, and DMV stuff and all tha.

So I guess for me it really is the longest day of the year, just with no joy or wonder.

“Poor, Poor Me”

I cleaned my parents car this afternoon, as they are getting their new Subaru tomorrow.

My mother’s seat was forward, and when she got in, she pushed it way back and then dropped the seatback,  just like tourists on a 737.  This made the knee space in the seat next to me tiny.

My father’s seat was far forward, making the seat behind the driver more comfortable.

This is relevant because instead of buying a new wagon with which he would be unfamiliar, but would have enough room to carry the scooter ordered for my mother without folding down a rear seat, like the Volvo V70 or the Ford Freestyle, he got another Subaru.

“I’ll need to be sitting in that space soon,” I said, looking at the seat next to me.

“You don’t have to!” he snarled.  “We can fold down the double seat rather than the single one.”

“Yes,” I said. “That’s the choice, seat width or knee room.”

“Poor Poor Me!” he wailed at me.

I got mad.  All I did was elucidate the choice I had, and the choice he will have when he cannot drive for a while after his July 9th hip replacement.

Of course, the reason he slapped at me is because he knew I was right, that his choices put even more limits, even more discomfort onto me.  And I should damn well suffer more in silence, like a good man, so he didn’t have to face the problem.

I get the fact that in this system I am the only one to take up the slack.  But after a morning where switching back and forth between the intense focus trying to fix my sister’s lighter socket so she can take a long trip in the car that I will end up with, the smaller one with double the mileage, and warm compassion of attending to my father as he wanted to give slow advice, then the interruption of my tasks to help him clean the car, I wasn’t just attentive.

Take it hard or shut up.  Otherwise, I am a whiner.

Thank you sir.  May I have another?

Cultural Relativism

Author Richard Dawkins talks about his disgust with those who truck with the notion of “cultural relativism” — the idea that every human cultural system holds truth.

Could those other systems of understanding build an airplane that flies? he questions. No. And to Dawkins, that makes his belief system better than any other system, because the scientific quest for facts underlies the creation of real technology, which holds higher value than any simple belief system.

He is correct, of course. Since his belief system values facts, it is more factually correct than others, holding more factual information about the mechanics of the world we live in.

But wasn’t that the first premise of science, that the more we look at the mechanics of the world, the more we will understand the God who created them?

That notion isn’t so clear anymore. Now, many think that the more we hold science the more we become God, able to do what other cultures believed only God can do.

The problem I have with this is that I don’t think that factual understanding is the only truth that should be held as having value. Our individual & social experience of the world is always much more shaped by the stories we hold than the facts we understand.

Today, many people’s stories use the language of science to explain the world without having the backup of the facts of science. How often do we hear that something is “in the genes” when there is no genetic evidence?

I cringe when I hear the term “GG” defined as genetic girl (woman,) because no one has examined their genes to assign that identification, and when we examine the genes of trannys, we may find genes that are womanly too.  I use the term “born female,” a shortening of Jake Hale’s “assigned as female at birth or soon thereafter and raised as a girl.”   The assignment “born female” is based on the identification of reproductive organs, and now maybe a chromosomal test, but not on any genetic assay of all possible factors.

It may be easy to assign identity to genes rather than to some other creation, but that’s just story, and not science, the same way that transsexuals who identify their creation myth as biological (genes, brain, whatever) have no factual basis for their creation myth, no matter how couched in scientific terms they may be.

Stories are the fundamental drivers of humans, even when couched in terms of science or in the veneration of apparent facts over other truth.

1999: Belief In Biology, Belief In God

I understand that Dawkins venerates facts, but I also understand that veneration is part of the stories that define his personal experience of the world. That’s why he tells the story of how his view of the world is so much more powerful than other worldviews, holding the magic of flight, for example.

I just think the truth of the human experience is based in our understanding the world rather than just the true facts we have accumulated.

Even for Dawkins.

Bold & Brave

“We just want you to be happy,” people tell me.

Well, to be happy is to follow my bliss.  And to follow my bliss is to be bold and brave.  They are are clear that I know myself to be trans.

My parents still want me to be happy by fitting into a nice little box that is comfortable to them and their friends.

My sister wants me to be happy, but not at the cost of upsetting my parents.  I should do things in private that might help, come to her house and change or whatever, but not be in my parents face at all.

In other words, they want me to be bold and brave doing what they approve of, but to be timid and closeted in following my bliss.

After all, they just want me to be happy.

POB

Miz Ruby wants me to understand that my Performance Of Boy has one fatal flaw.

The things you say are necessary to your performance of “boy” seem like feminine characteristics.

Or codependent characteristics.

In the South, they’re synonymous.

Boys do not service others.

They are insensitive, oblivious, fearless, stupid, death-defying, testosterone-overloaded dare-devils, not scared and anxious.

Just ask any mother of a 2 year old.

She is right, of course. Boy doesn’t express my nature, it is something I struggle to maintain, mostly by denial and disempowerment.

A fatal flaw, indeed.

To Get Laid

But my being left-wing had more to do with meeting girls. It was my first weekend of college and I was just walking down an alley with bars on either side, and on one side was the bar where all the football players and the frat guys and the cute sorority girls all hung out. And on the other side of the alley was the beatnik bar. And I’m looking at the Tri-Delts and the Kappa Kappa Gammas over there at the clean-cut kid bar, and I’m thinking, You know? I’m not gonna cut it over there. I don’t play football. I’m not tall and good-looking. I’m not rich. I’m not legacy at Sigma Chi. And then I looked over at the beatnik bar, and I thought, Man, I’ll bet those girls do it. And so I turned left into the beatnik bar and didn’t emerge for about a decade. So it was really that. It was no deeper than that

P.J. O’Rourke in RadarOnline
http://www.radaronline.com/features/2007/01/pj_orourke.php

This is the constant question about identity choices: how many of them are about revelation of inner truth and how many of them are about getting what we want, like getting laid?

Helen Boyd & I went around about this when she was in Albany last. She spoke about her own behavior change when she decided that meeting potential partners was important, but when I suggested that was a big factor in many of the choices transpeople made in their lives, she poo-poohed the notion.

O’Rourke wants us to dismiss his liberal days as nothing but a decade of chasing tail, and see him only as the stalwart libertarian conservative he portrays today.

Does that mean he is willing to dismiss others past performances as just a surface attempt to get what they want?

Or, is should we assume that his position today is still about getting what he wants, but when his fervent desire shifted away from hot young chicks to cash or status or security or whatever, his performance had to shift along with it?

To move beyond desire is hard, lonely and spare.

But to stay in desire is to be required to be who others desire, rather than being true to some inner whatever.

Can we really move beyond the attempt to get? Or is that all human life can ever be about, whatever performance we create at the time?

Integral To The Performance II

Along with anxiety, resistance to change has to be part of my boy character.  It is this resistance to change which forms the basis of my denial & discipline, separating myself from growth & truth and staying in the order.

I remember a femmedyke pal leaving on the train, as I stood on the platform standing at attention and saluting.  She later said it was both funny & poignant.

In other words, resisting change is integral to my performance of boy.

Group Identity

So when Kate says,

The tall red-haired actress drops to her knees downstage center.
She looks up at the audience,
her face framed in an amber spotlight.
“Tell me what it’s like to know you’re a woman,” she says,
her voice barely raised above a whisper.
“Tell me what it’s like to know you’re a man.
Tell me please because
I never went to bed one night of my life
knowing I was a man.
I never went to bed one night of my life
knowing I was a woman.

Kate Bornstein, Gender Outlaw: on men, women and the rest of us,
©1994, Routledge, P223-224

I have to wonder this, based in my own experience: what did she go to bed knowing that she was?

What group identity was she so comfortable and centered in that she knew, without a doubt, that it included her?

As for me, well, other than being a human and being a child of my parents, I don’t have any idea what I am in terms of group identity.  My father is Ukranian and my mother English, but when I first met my Ukrainian family in Alberta, they seemed so unlike me I hid in the rafters of the picnic pavillion.  I was raised Anglican, but I stopped taking communion one morning while staying in West Park Monastery when I was in eighth grade.  I am a Canadian, but grew up in the states, so while I was politically active — in ninth grade I ran the town operations for a winning Congressional candidate — I have never voted.

Ethnicity, religion, nationality, politics, none of these identities ever held much better than gender for me.   And sports teams or bands or whatever else, well, I never went to bed one night knowing where I fit.  Never.

Kate, well, I sat next to her at Rachel Pollack’s bat mitzvah, and she talked about  how this was the first time back in shul since her mother’s funeral. Not an observant Jew, our Kate.  I also know that other identities didn’t fit her very well, from new ager to lesbian and back again.

From the moment we met, though we did know, however, do know, that we are sisters.  That identity as a transshaman, that was clear to us, even if we had no real community based around that knowledge.   It isn’t a group identity, see, it is a calling, and the battles around the right way to be trans, the right way to speak of trans show the failure of trans as a group identity, even as it highlights the truth of trans as individual calling.

Yet, no human is an island, and we cannot survive alone in this world.  We need group connections, even if our liminal nature keeps those identities on a performative basis which is inherently less fixed than those for whom group identification forms primary identity props.  We play in, and wink to those who can see that we are really playing, real and separate, wild and externally tamed at the same time.

It’s almost bedtime, and tonight, again, I wish I knew who I was.

But the only person in that bed is me, and that’s both enough and not enough at the same time.

Group identities?

Never me.

Slicing Thin

“I really needed to get away from the kids. I got all dressed up, heels and perfume, and we went to a dinner party.

“I was seated next to a nice guy, and we had a good conversation, but after the food was served he started looking at me a bit strangely.

“That’s when I looked down and realized that I was cutting his entree into bite-size pieces.”

I am in that caretaker hell, too close and too lost, without even a dinner party to go to.

But play “The Way You Look Tonight” for me, at least the 1960 Sinatra / Nelson Riddle version, and imagine me smiling and dancing to it. That and any version of Amazing Grace that makes me laugh, the way I laugh when my mother in the sky skewers me.

OK?

“Building Community Now”

After about 25 years out in the organizations of the trans-community, over a decade leading a local club and acting nationally enough to give a keynote at IFGE, I have come to the conclusion that there is no trans-community.

There is an interlocking network of trans-communities, each with some specific focus, be it partners or crossdressers or a convention or cured transsexuals or political activists or queer faieries, or whatever, but there is no trans-community.

So when someone tells me that I should be “building community now,” that sets me on edge, because what they usually mean by that is that others should rally round the flag that person is standing under.

Most don’t want to do the hard, hard work of being allies with people who make choices you would never make, who make choices that squick you, who make choices that you don’t really want people to associate with your life.

That, though, is the key to real, healthy community. And it’s when the divisions get minute, when there is very little ground to fight over, that the battles get their fiercest. You are much more likely to be assaulted or murdered by someone close to you than by a stranger.

In 1997, I spent a weekend in a Uniting As Allies workshop sponsored by the local G&L community council, and later that year spoke on TGIC receiving an award for Building Bridges. It was there I watched a transitioned transwoman lash out against a black gay man, accusing him of pedophilia, watched transpeople beat up on each other. Different transpeople came to me and thanked me for being a good model, but were agast at the other trannys, the classic self-loathing firing squad, standing in a circle and firing.

In other words, I have done the work. It’s my challenge in queer theory/theology to let challenges make me rethink, become more inclusive. This is very different from so many trannys who just look for reasons to dismiss challenge, to silence others, to always pull the conversation back to their own doctrine. Ah, yes, my karma may want to run over their dogma, but zombie dogs don’t laugh and be reborn, they continue on as hulks driven by fundamentalism.

So when a born female SOFFA — spouses, family, friends & allies — leader, who has written a couple of books on being married to a tranny, is coming into town to lecture us on “Building Community Now.”

I remember the last time she did this. She told us we have to be embracing, but then lavished special attention on another partner because “she’s one of my peeps.”

It sure as heck felt to me like she was telling the boys what they needed to do, because that’s a woman’s job, but doing what she wanted.

I have tried to communicate with her in the past, but rather than engaging me, she wanted to throw my stuff up on the blog that fronts her forums, grabbing content to maintain her enclave, which she holds up as a symbol of possible community.

I spent well over a decade leading in a local transgroup, plus acting nationally. Having a woman who keeps crossdressers happy telling me what to do, keeping her focus by keeping separate from the boys, well, that feels dismissive & intrusive.

It’s my experience that she feels open around gays, and trannys born female, but that trannys born male all feel the same as her partner, or at least the same as she has to hold about her partner.

I know this drill. I know what it feels like to have my own expression dismissed as just an expression of the sickness I need to drop to be what someone else expects me to be. And when I complain about being erased, it is seen as another expression of sickness.

Build community now? And do it by oversimplification to an reductive form of imposed normativity rather by than respecting complex and contradictory narratives?

Not me, thanks.

Edna, Kiki, Varla: Bomb Throwers

I like Barry Humphries, JT Roberson and Justin Bond.

But I love Dame Edna, Varla Jean Merman and Kiki DuRane. Pure, intense, crazy & powerful ladies, all.

I think Justin says it best about Kiki & Herb: “Our shows are always political.”

I just don’t think you can be visibly and profoundly trans in this culture without being political. And the politics of immersing in a persona that breaks everything, well, that’s potent.

I know many crossdressers and transsexuals who are offended by the very idea that any trans expression is inherently political. They swear that have no political intent, that they just want to be normative, want to blend in. The fact that they want to blend in as something that many hate, despise and see as subversive isn’t their issue; they only want freedom.

Of course, the freedom to be ourselves and to express our difference is at the heart of the politics of trans. Trans isn’t about sexuality or defects, it is about the power of the individual to move beyond social expectations and the stigma which enforces them to be boldly true.

Christine Kane imagines doubt to be a drag queen, a sneaky & seductive disguise to spread fear and the call for doubting one’s nature. I have always found the devil dressed in blue suits and sensible shoes, peddling the fear of separation and the behavior of submission, and found queens to be boldly speaking for the power of unique, out and outrageous expression.

And that’s why I love Edna & Varla & Kiki.

And I know one of those mouthy broads is in me.

Change Eater

TBB has to get a job, and TBB wonders how to market what her biggest strength is.

She’s a shaman, a transgender shaman.

What shamans do is move between worlds; between this world and the under world, between man and nature, between man and her nature.

Transition, transformation is change, and we are change eaters.  We enter the change to open the door, the portal, the limina for others to pass through.

This is why tribes had better success when they had a better shaman.  It’s why that Indian maiden who was with the negotiating team sent to Washington to settle treaties was brought along — they were a trans shaman, who had sight and insight between worlds.

I will guarantee you, though, that no one in this culture ever puts a classified ad to employ a change eater, a shaman, a transformer.  We aren’t just powerful, we are also scary, because seeing through illusory walls that others think are real also means we see through the walls of people doing the hiring, and they rarely like that.  They don’t laugh when revealed, in other words.

It is to be a change eater to be a change eater.

But that’s damn hard to market.

Eyes Of Love

TBB is getting a bit queasy about returning to FLA to start her job search, no matter how well the trip she and her kids ended in Biloxi last night — a nice hotel with “Family” running it, a great filet mignon dinner and two jackpots at the casino.

While there are few guarantees in life, I guaranteed her that the next few weeks would be awful.  She laughed.  While she may want to plan career, she told me she needs to get a job by the end of June, and while she probably won’t have a career, but if she works, she may well have a job.

I suggested that she needs to have a practice to help empower her when faith flags.  I suggested chanting or meditation or candle lighting or walking or writing, or whatever works.  I told her that I like to put on my theme tunes — mostly show tunes — and sing them out at high volumes.  I know that worked for us in Portland, 10 story stairwells booming with “Ev’rything’s Coming Up Roses!”  After all, why can’t God appear in the form of Ethel Merman?

But most of all I assured her that she has power.

One thing that’s hard for me is that people often assume that the head and the heart are somehow separate.  They think that coming from the heart is all soft and comfy, so my coming from the head — asking just the wrong question — is somehow cold.

TBB doesn’t assume that, though.  She gets that my heart and head are well and truly connected, and that my thoughtful (cutting) questions are also powerfully loving.  It is always the people who laugh at the cuts who show they get that link, as she laughed at my guarantee of hardship over the next month.

You see, TBB sees though the eyes of love, and seeing through her eyes is always inspiring and motivating.  That’s why her friends love her, because she is there even in the tough times, and why people who have met her even a little know that they want to be around her.

It’s why she shines in the documentary, where she isn’t always the prettiest, but where she is always beautiful, as people see.

And when she sees and reflects the love she sees in me, the beauty revealed though her eyes of love, well, that’s nice.

Blessings be to her on her job search.  Blessings be to us all.