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.

One thought on “Pools”

  1. it may seem that what scares people from jumping in the pool is the water. it’s too cold, they might drown, they might make fools of themselves by being such awkward swimmers. but I suspect that for many it’s the question of what happens when they have to get back out of the water. Their mothers taught them that the pool is fun but they can’t stay in it too long or they’ll turn blue, and school is the next day.
    How to make the pool into that ocean, and how to survive in some full-time way, rather than just an occasional day at the beach? Some trust in the Hollywood fantasy, in which the landlubber meets a mermaid, and somehow, magically, grows gills so they can live together under the waves, away from the challenges of the land. Others move near the ocean so they can go in every day, or at least on days when no other demands keep them away, and even then, they know it’s nearby. And some build boats, in the hope of sailing around the world. And still others wonder if drowning might not be better than staying on the land and never going in the water because they know how much they would hate getting out.

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