My Job, Their Job

So like, back in the early 1980s I put a mix tape together for a counselor.

This was the key song, Mac McAnally’s It’s My Job, off of Jimmy Buffett’s 1980 Coconut Telegraph.

Even in those days I understood that my job was to be different from the rest, though these days I spend most of my time cleaning up the mess my parents make.

These days, I just wish those assholes on Wall Street remembered what their job was — “to be worried half to death.”

But no, the needed to be profligate with other people’s money, and could get away with it in such a lax regulatory climate.

So many reasons this administration will go down in the history books.


TBB’s latest journey is almost over, by train through Richmond for a court date, NYC for a film premiere, Chicago and Trinidad.

And as always, her stories are huge, bright and potent.

She ain’t The Big Bitch for nothin’.

But she is also realizing that she is a catalyst wherever she goes, changing situations in ways that others find magical, magical because they can’t understand how it works.  They just know that they miss her when she goes, and get anxious when she is too close.   People often act out towards her, trying to work out their own issues, but there is no mommy meeting where she can get support from other powerful trans-shamans.

She is a catalyst, bringing change with her enormous personality and her enormous love.

The Bitch is platinum.

Jumping Through Hoops

Depending on your point of view, I am either really bad at jumping through hoops, or really good at it.

Yesterday was a hoop jumping day; medical insurance issues for my parents, technical support, warranty claims, all the little games of step, step, jump, jump that marketers have built into the system.

You know why marketers love rebates, right?   They can advertise dollars off knowing that many people won’y jump through the hoops required to actually claim the money.  It’s all part of gimmick pricing, offering a deal only to people who jump through hoops.

I ran a software technical support operation in the 1980s, and I know the games one can use to put the onus back on the customer.  Yesterday I had to write a two page descripton of my home network, including firmware revisions and lists of illuminated lights, just to get the people at the VOIP provider to find the problem in their system.   I received multiple responses from an insurance company just redirecting me to the homepage of the site I am already on.

I will tell you that jumping through these hoops makes me crazy. I get a headache, my heart pounds, I just shake and hit myself, trying to bring focus.

Yesterday, with all this going on, my sister also wanted to twig me about getting my financial house in order.  It is a reasonable request, but one that has been crazy-making for me for years.

It looks like I am very bad at jumping through the hoops of everyday life today.  Insanely bad.

But the hoops I have to jump through every moment, the hoops of having to take all the twists, to be calm and absorbing for my family, for the neighborhood, for everything, well, those are hoops that have bound me up and held me down for decades now.

People tolerate some hoop jumping because they have some nature, some freedom, some happiness.

Me?  Well, there are no wins, no relaxation, no nature.  I am constrained in every minute, jumping through the hoops of others fear and refusal to engage.    I know how to enter the worlds of others, how to take care of them, how to be there for others, yet I have not found people who are comfortable with me.  Sure, part of that is the tension I hold, the old self-fulfilling role of stigma, where the stigmatized get crazy from the isolation and are then written off as crazy, but there is more to it than that.

I end up jumping alone, holding the twists alone, and it is bad for me, and sets me up for worse.  I am so hoop-bound that I can’t even do the little normal hoops, and that makes me seem broken and incompetent.  There is never credit given for how much you have come through to stand here, rather you are almost always judged on how you satisfy people in this moment, and if you have nothing left to give, well, tough.

To those people, I am insanely bad at jumping through hoops, the hoops they expect everyone to go through to get what they want or need.

But to me, my own capacity to jump through hoops is astounding, as overtaxed as it is.

And it is what is killing me.

About Them

TBB tells one of those New York stories;  a long night, karaoke, a stolen wallet, host speeding away in a cab, finding wallet in trashcan with all $20 bills gone, a cab ride on the singles left, all that drama.

It’s her story, of course, but when she got back to her friend’s house and told the story, the friend got peeved at the partner who was supposed to host and drank instead.

In other words, TBB’s story instantly became their story, and TBB’s events were lost in the drama.

Of course, this is the standard plan.

Kate Bornstein used to tell the story of  50 year old women born female who came up to her and said “I loved Gender Outlaw!  It’s all about me!”   Carol Queen knows it too; she says that normies always assume everything is about them.

When I tell my own stories, I know that people need to put them in context, and unless they have done the work of queer, the only context they have is their own life, and their own life is defined by the attempt to fit in, and not the attempt to claim their own unique story, separate and true.

It’s All About Me, Not You,” as Greer Lankton said.

But every queer understands why she had to say it.


It’s great to find your voice through performance
but the big challenge
is to find the point where
your voice and the audience’s interests

No one comic
can speak to everyone
especially when your voice is
new and unknown
to your audience.

Finding Your Voice
Finding Your Audience
inseparable parts
of the same process,
finding connections
that share smarts and souls.

Day To Day Oppression

“Everyday they keep you down, keep you in the closet, keep you non-challenging, is a win for them,” TBB tells me.

“They think that by keeping you down, they keep things good, rather just letting them fester.

“And when you do come out, they will be angry with you for breaking the silence.

“It will be all your fault.

“But you know that.

“Take whatever tiny possibility they allow you, then take more.  It’s a strategy that worked for Julius Caesar.

“It is the only way to get out from their day to day oppression.”


TBB stayed with an old high school buddy, one of the clan, who is now freaked out a bit about her honesty, her exposure, her presence.

To TBB, this freaking is odd.  In the day, they stood out from the crowd, standing up for each other.  Now they are ashamed and freaked to stand up for her.

It’s sad to lose a past, but, as I told TBB, with rebirth loss is inevitable.

She didn’t make the changes in her life to make her past better.

She made the changes in her life to make her future better.

And that seems to be working well.

Induced Depression

When I was in college, I saw counselor.  He told me  “Well, it’s kind of like you have depression, but not really.”  He put me on some anti-depressants, which weren’t nearly as nice as they are today.  No effect.

My sister is reading “Shoot The Damn Dog: A Memoir Of Depression”  by Sally Bromfield.    I picked it up when I stopped at her house to replace the batteries in her remote thermometer (and also ended up slamming down her porch stairs on my back.)

The beginning has three themes:

  1. Depression is a disease that needs to be helped with medical intervention
  2. Conventionality can be resumed even if we are always hunted.
  3. We are not alone no matter how much depression is a disease of alienation

The first theme, of medicalization, is a constant issue in the trans community.  While I believe people have the right to modify their body, I have real trouble seeing that modification as a cure or even as a sex change, though through changing some characteristics of our body, we can more easily and comfortably express our own gender.

To me, the key benefit of medicalization is the benefit of authority and affirmation of our own inner knowledge.  “The doc says that I have a condition, so I have to make some changes.  They aren’t just indulgent changes, they are really professionally authorized to benefit my health.”

The second theme, that the goal is to regain a conventional life that others can easily understand, well, that I have issues with that I have discussed.

It’s the third theme, the idea that depression is a disease of alienation, that interested me.

I know that doctors sometimes induce a coma into patients who need time to heal.  It puts the brain into a kind of hibernation, to offer the chance for recuperation.

Growing up trans, I felt the stigma when I showed my nature.  That was the pressure that made me choose; did I deny my nature and attempt to be normative, or did I accept the alienation and stay with myself, even if that caused separation from community?

I chose alienation.

If depression is a disease of alienation, as Ms. Bromfield posits, then by making that choice, I was making the choice to create an induced depression, learning to have a kind of depression to keep me playing small.   I was alienated from my family, from my community and even from my own body.

The problem is that my induced depression isn’t about the way my brain works.  Rather it is about a society is that is alienated to me and my nature, and my response to that society.

(I liked the quote Ms. Bromfield used from an alcoholic: “Religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell; Spirituality is for people who have already been there.”)

I do believe that I have depression.

I just have self-induced depression, which is different.

I need to connect with a society that is ready and willing to connect with me, and that just isn’t returning to the conventional.

It may include some medicos stating that I really need to emerge, that not emerging is just causing decay and corruption across my body, but in many ways, that has happened.  I do hope that my younger sisters get to come out, though, to be able to be connected rather than alienated.

Self-induced depression to stay small and embrace alienation.

Don’t think they have a drug for that.


Well. my birthday is over with just a card & some cash from my parents and an e-mail from my sister, so I have gotten through another milestone without having to be faced with how I have squandered my life energy for so many years by playing small for the comfort of others.

My mother, with the help of my sister, has finally figured out how much I don’t have a life but instead serve their needs and whims.  In her card, she says she wishes I could relax.

Relax.   Yeah.   It’s been twice this week that she had declared an “I’m useless and invalid and want to die” emergency that I had to handle, and two doctors appointments where I had to carry them, and all the. . .

One of the great things about TBB, who finds it difficult to talk to me these days, is a clear imperitive to do the right thing when faced with a challenge.  She may have limits in imagining future possibilities — some have said that courage thrives with limits to the imagination — but there is no one better in the moment to grab, address and solve problems.  For her, building a better tomorrow is making the right choices now.

In the past few months, both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have made pronouncements that they believe it is important for transpeople to emerge (transition) in order for them to be healthy and fulfilled.   In other words, they believe that it is more important for society to get over it than for for transpeople to deny themselves for the comfort of others.

I have spent my life in self-denial, first the self-denial of blindness and then the self-denial of monastic discipline.  And the cost, in decay and wasted life-energy has been huge.

If my family really wanted me to relax, they would just do what TBB would do; realize that I need to be myself and support me in that, taking the challenges and moving past it.

But they can’t relax and do the right thing, which is to say “Come out, come out, whoever you are, and we will be here for you.”

Instead they want me to relax, but not to make them uncomfortable.  You know that line; they don’t like to see me suffer.    They don’t mind if I do suffer, they just don’t want to see it.

And another birthday reminds me of the waste and how people want me to give to them but can’t give to me.  It may be my day, but only if I am invisible, having my own self hidden in the shadows.

They celebrated Rachael Ray’s 40th birthday on her show yesterday, which I saw as I installed my sister’s digital TV converter.  Valerie Bertinelli, Pat Harrington and Bonnie Franklin made her an honorary member of the Romano family from One Day At A Time.  Harrington even gave a glowing statement about Mackenzie Phillips, the challenged daughter, the kind of support and pride that you want to see an uncle give.

But my no one in my family could come into my world and affirm me as anything but a caretaker to my parents.

I’d love to relax, but that birthday just reminds me for the 19,710 time what a minefield I live in.

While living in it and serving my family is my gift to others, somehow, I think I could relax more if affirmation of what I have always needed was their gift to me.

But not this year.

Deserted By Convention

In the end, fairy tales and fables find redemption in recreating broken convention.

That which was lost is found, that which was broken is healed, that which was forsaken is loved, and people live happily ever after in the comfort of convention.

But if you can’t imagine any convention that would ever fit you, then redemption is impossible.

All you can imagine is being Kiki DuRane, screaming to break through the white noise of a conventional world.

And as Justin likes to remind people, “She’s not really real, you know.”

Southern Discomfort

I need this workshop:

Southern Discomfort: Loving Your Intense, Queer & Ecstatic Self

However you filter it, your trans nature comes from the deep pit of your soul.  It is not something you chose, it is something you are, a way you were created.

Because your trans nature is so deep, so intense, and so potent, it can scare people.  It can scare even you.

This workshop will help you find the beauty inside the fear, the grace inside the energy.  We will focus on ways of opening to the ecstatic and letting it lift us to being the champions of eartly transformation we were born to be.  To trust the intensity that drives us past the lines of convention we have to trust that others have released their own unique, queer nature and made change in the world.

We have opportunities everyday to show how assimilated and responsive we are, but we rarely have opportunities to show how powerful and brilliant we are.   Celebrating our own wild nature, releasing our wit and our laughter, revealing the world as seen from beyond tiny walled boxes, we can acknowlege, validate and celebrate the immense and intense power that lies in every human soul.

We may be the knives that slice away layers of expectation to reveal connected and connective humanity, but we are beautiful knives, and we need to learn to glitter in the sunlight, not hide in darkness.  We don’t just share the pain of being shamed into the closet because others fear us, we also share the ectasy that leads us to break down closet doors and reveal our beautiful inner selves.

We will share the fear and through that sharing move past fear to find the awesome and amazing beauty that lies behind every human expression, every trans expression.   We will reinforce each other in our big, bold brilliance, supporing each other in being loud, proud and graceful.

This is a place for people ready to embrace their exuberance, for the first time or again, and sing the song their creator placed in their heart.   It is a place to be both disquieting and lovely, perfect and perverse.

Are you ready?


It’s OK to think that your work is Godly, that you are answering a call and playing the part God assigned to you.

It’s not OK to therefore think that anyone you feel opposes you is unGodly, that they are speaking against God and all that is holy, and therefore they are evil and you are empowered to attack and silence them.

It is OK to think that you hear the voice of God in your life.  It’s not OK to think that you know what God would do in any situation and are therefore empowered to do it to others.

The problem isn’t “I’m acting for God.”

The problem is “I’m acting for God and you aren’t.”

Or worse. “I am acting for God and you challenge me, so you are acting against God.”

This is the leap that all too many who listen to preachy preachers  — those who externalize the challenge and urge us to wall off offenders —  end up making, that if they are good others are evil.   If all that counts are achieving what we believe to be God’s goals, then the ends always justify the means.

Teachy preachers — those say that the challenge is internal and urge us to learn and grow in compassion & openness everyday — end up focusing on the process of struggle.   If we can’t know the mind of God, if the mind of God holds both sunshine and hurricanes, then no one of us can hold the true answer, and answers can only be found when we come together representing many points of view and grow to consensus and acknowlegement.

This is what I fear when I see “pit bulls in lipstick” attack others.   They see themselves as Godly and therefore anyone who opposes them is unGodly, and any means to silence and defeat them is sanctified.  The ends always justify the means, if you believe that God cares more about the ends than the means.

McCain was losing, so he got some followers of Karl Rove around him.  They decided that staying principled and losing was not something they could countenance, so the decision was made to put the end over the means, the results over process, the expediency over integity.

I just believe that when you end up feeling that you can treat others like they are evil and unGodly, rather than just as humans playing their part in the sweep of creation, you aren’t coming from an attempt to be more open, compassionate and committed to dignity & engagement.

And that, I think misses the mark.

It’s sin.