(notes for a speech)

Surely, I can’t be the only one whose college roomate kept a chainsaw in their dorm room, the better to terrorize people with during a night of drinking?

When I think of transgender, I think of that chainsaw, smelling of burnt oil, hanging on the wall.

Transgender is a chainsaw that lives within us. We try to live nice, normative and even boring lives, but from a very early age, that whirr, that scream, that thunder is always there, revving up and ready to tear down what we are trying to be, ready to rip through the facade we play, and ready to expose our tender, bleeding, beautiful heart.

That piston wants to pump, that chain wants to whirl, those saw teeth want to slice and open up the energy that throbs inside of is. One good spark and a little gas and we feel the pulsing, the pulsing that comes from deep inside, ready to pierce the expectations placed on our lives just as powerfully as my roommate’s chain saw splintered the door of a sleeping neighbor.

When I look around the room at Southern Comfort conference, I see people who already have taken ownership of that inner chainsaw, busting through history and assumptions to open a new path for themselves, and I see people who are are working very, very hard to keep their own chainsaw under wraps.


Gawd, I love the intense trannys who know how to handle a chainsaw with grace, elegance and power. Rip me baby, rip me down to the heart and soul, rip me open and exposed, rip me away from convention and into intensity.

Highly concentrated, reduced to essence, potent and piquant, intense.

If you are going to have to take all that crap to move beyond the normative assigned at birth, going gto have to get out the damn chainsaw to cut your way out and then always be feared as someone who has shown they can weild a chainsaw, then why, I ask you, why be boring?

Transgressivity in the name of freedom is no vice! I love Kiki DuRane!

= = = = =

Look, I know what you are going to say.

You didn’t break out of your shell to be seen as the one with the chainsaw.

In fact, all you want to do is to break through and then resume normativity. Go out and be a normal guy, a normal woman, a normal whatever the hell it is you are. GenderQueer just ain’t you.

Heck, even if I served my time as guy in a dress, genderqueer ain’t me either. Well, at least not gender queer as these young androgynous people do it. I like my maturity, I like my put-together, I like my well-worn and elegant.

I like style. Style is the evidence of a deep knowledge of self, of what works for you and what does not.

I am a process queen. Empowerment is my thing. I like working with people, not fighting them.

But no matter how much I paint it pink and encrust it with rhinestones, sitting in my cute little evening bag, now and forever is my chainsaw, the one I used to cut my way out of my coffin, to sever my shackles and break out of my cell.

I might try to hide it in my bag, or even in my closet, but once people know I broke out, they also know that anyone who can wield a chainsaw well enough to cut through the bonds of normative expectation, through stigma and threats of separation that hold us in place, well, that person has power.

Intense, acerbic, sharp and trenchant power. The power of the chainsaw.

= = = = = = =

There is only one force in the world that can power such a ripping tool.

Our chainsaws aren’t run by a refined petroleum derivative, no.

Our magical chainsaws are powered by love.

It’s the power of Eros, the power of knowing what we desire, the power of knowing what we need, the power of knowing what we love that revs up our inner chainsaw. We see what needs to be cleared to get to love, to let love grow, and when we need that love enough, we let her rip.

Love is the ultimate power that humans can wield. Love, duty and curiosity are the only powers that can overcome fear, and of all these three, love is the most potent.

When we are following what we love, we can break the bounds of convention, transcend the expectations, and just chainsaw through all the constraints that maintain the status quo.

Love, my pretties, is a chainsaw. It cuts and reshapes, releasing the forms hidden within, just as chainsaw sculptors release the inner eagle from an oak tree. It severs and disconnects, felling old timber to make room for new growth. It slices and saws, opening the canopy up to the sun, so light and warmth can again fall on fertile ground. A chainsaw is a tool of death that creates space for new life.

And as people shamed into the closet, the only way out is the chainsaw, the big chainsaw of love.

How can anyone know us and not know that we have at least had a moment when we kicked the starter and tore ourselves new space for new possibilities? How can they not wonder if their old wood, twisted and rotting, choking out blooms, would stand up to the power of our chainsaw?

We are big, we are beautiful, we are in possession of the chainsaw of love, the chainsaw of freedom.

And that is sexy and scary, all at the same time,