U or I

Went to a viewing last night, Ethan Bach’s Reclaiming The Pieces, an MFA project that offers the voices of some transpeople, and Aryn Zev’s Drag Kings! Pro Wrestling! Finger Puppets! a selection of short videos by a transwoman who needs images to express the challenges she sees, the way I need words.

Of course, I couldn’t keep my damn femme mouth shut, which embarrassed Marcie, sitting next to me. “You are so dynamic!” she told me later, and included this in her summary:

And I can attest that Callie (who was at the viewing I attended), spoke most eloquently (as she always does) during the Q & A portion. Her profound comment in regard to another’s question was…well, profound ! Bravo!  She really is quite fun to talk to and I love her take on things.

The question was from someone fascinated with transgeneic humans who wanted to know where disability rights and trans rights crossed. Ethan gave an answer that made sense for trannies born female, who basically pass as men easily, but I added the discussion about how that has been a hot button issue for transpeople assigned as male at birth or soon there after. Is trans a disease which we treat and are cured, or is trans just a way some people are born, and the problem is not sickness but social context?

I suppose I could have noted that the 1994 draft of Rikki Anne Wilchins amazing Read My Lips talked about Childhood Chromosomal Disorder (CCD) and the 1999 pomo published version went right with accepting difference, but somehow that seemed too obscure.

People liked my answer though, so they spoke to me after. Filmmaker Jim DeSeve, his partner and his mother chatted with me about their experiences. Ethan’s parents and Aryn’s parents also attended.

Aryn was chatting with Marci, and when I walked past, she turned and said “Are you that amazing Callie from the list?”

“You mean the big mouthed obnoxious broad?” I asked “I’m her.”

“Yes!” she said as she jumped up to greet me. It turns out that Aryn is interested in the crowd who was there and did that, out in a tough time and making her road a tiny bit easier. It was odd being respected by up and coming people, especially when we kept our distance at the Yes Men screening a week ago. We may well end up chatting soon.

What I noticed was the partners. Ingrid, with bright eyes behind a cheesy false beard, was with Aryn and a great femme was with Ethan. She and I were the only two in black tights & boots, and we both agreed women who aren’t ballsy are, well, boring.

It has always seemed to me that it is much easier to get women, especially femme women as partners with transpeople, and I came up with a theory.

Women like to understand where their partners are different, queer, off the norm, like to get around them and inside of them. They may be lesbian or straight, but they have the mother need to understand, to help verbalize, to accept and empower.

Men, on the other hand (and by this I don’t mean all males, as you should have guessed by now), often prefer to ignore where their partners are different, queer or off the norm.

“Well, she’s great in the sack and there’s always dinner on the table, so it’s good. I think she may have a little crack problem of some sort, but it doesn’t get in the way of her taking care of me, so no problem.”

So much simpler if I wasn’t double queer, both a transwoman and a femme, because then I could just find a nice femme or such who would want to understand.

Anyway, it was a nice night, even if I did only dress up for the “Client #9 Pimps & Ho’s Ball, Honoring Elliot Spitzer.” The giant print of sticky cherry red 1980s lip gloss smeared on my cup amused me, even if as I spent two and a half hours trying to get through with my parents, ending in a screaming match to understand the network problems my father was having in the new hotel. I try to create a shared understanding with shared language, but, well, it is a battle.

Any wonder if after that I showered, put on my cozys, watched a sweet episode of What Not To Wear where a 23 year old girl had decided she could never be beautiful so she would only be wild, and the tam showed her she was beautiful, and went to bed?

Understand or Ignore difference, U or I. Is it about understanding you or ignoring what isn’t me?