As I listened to people speak at SCC07, I was reminded how the trans experience is best understood as immersion in a progression of pools. We jump into an identity and need to own that being the only place we exist, and then we need to emerge from that identity and find a new pool, a new intensity, a new reality, a new way of seeing the world.
In many ways this is no different than other humans, except that our progressions don’t follow the normative sequence, what is expected. We change and leap, becoming new in the moment, often needing to fight those in the pool we last inhabited. The need to immerse is often seen as the need to reject, to be in the clique by denying those outside it.
This in and out chase gives the structure to so many trans lives, the need to be and then be again, participant and observer, contradictory and connected, new and old, ambiguous and true.
The people I connect with tend to be those people who have come to the understanding that all those pools are part of rivers that connect with the same sea, that we share more in common than what separates us. Cole Thaler expressed that beautifully in his keynote speech, connecting a little girl & little boy with a man & woman of trans history, revealing what they shared as they fought together for rights, revealing himself.
We share the very plasma that carries our cells, the blood that gives us life. These are what make up the pools we immerse in; the stories and fears, possibilities and promises that flow in our veins.
In the end, it seems, my challenge is to believe in the ocean, that holding my own in the pools keeps me connected with the current of my mother.
Or something like that.