Less Self

Saw a 2002 BBC documentary called Century Of The Self, which threads a story about how Freud’s idea of the power of the unconscious self has been used by marketers over the past century.   The last program tells how this change to a very self-centered focus has affected the political system, starting with the “Reagan Revolution,” where the feelings of voters became dominant over the needs of the country.  Keeping people immersed in unconscious desires makes them ideal consumers, with plenty of buttons marketers can use to sell products constructed to fill those emotional desires.

For me, this discussion illuminates my own struggle.   Transpeople need to claim the self over social expectations, but we also need a society where we can’t be cut down by people who claim that their own desire for comfort is sufficent to erase people who challenge them.

I do the whole service thing, taking care of others with discipline.   And I work very hard to make my own self conscious, clear and considered.

But people more immersed in the notion of their own unconscious and unexamined self find me baffling and challenging.   How can I both claim my own truth and be committed to service?   Shouldn’t it be one or the other?

Gwyneth listened to my collection of voicemail messages from my bad night after reading my post about it.  She was interested in a glimpse into my process, how the raw pain she heard in my voice wasn’t as present when I write about it here with a contextual understanding.

My emotions are real, raw and compelling, but there has never really been anyplace I can just let them fly, so I have learned to understand and express them in a broader context, rational and compassionate.  The emotions are still real, but they power the work of understanding rather than being a roller-coaster of drama by themselves.  I really believe that pain shows where we need healing, and I want to talk about hurt and healing more than I want to talk about pain.   That is my drive for growth and self-actualization.

How do we focus on needs and desires without being a puppet to anyone who wants to pull those strings or push those buttons?

I believe we can only do that with the power of the mind to understand and contextualize, seeing our own feelings and fears through more than just our own eyes.

But that is the move from dependence to independence to interdependence.

And so many still find that baffling, challenging and offputting, so much so that they have problems being there for someone who is working for that self.

Insufficent Dancing

Tomorrow is Halloween.

And I am hidden in service.

Yesterday was for my sister, from having to help with the car she took back from me, from finding it only has eight weeks to live (won’t pass inspection) to driving down to pick her up at 10 PM to find that she didn’t now need a ride but hadn’t called to tell anyone.   You would think she would be trying to regain my trust rather than just asking me for help after knifing me, but she assures me that the forgetfulness of menopause makes that impossible; she just can’t be reliable at this stage.

Today is for my mother, like every other day, still rolling her to the can and taking her around.

I paid my fine last Friday, even though I had the sense that blood was going to pour out my ears; the pressure, the pressure.

But in literally five minutes before my mother had to go, I found $10 RSVP shoes at 6PM.com.  I was sure I had bought wrong — wanted to second guess myself since the buy —  but they came yesterday, and the three pairs were pretty good.  The all-leather Italian men’s boots are odd, a costume piece, the black “shearling” booties could have been a size smaller, but the $190 heeled leather boots (well, $90 at Zappos) fit very nice.   In the 80s I lived with a woman born female who was 3″ taller than I and wore size 13 shoes when she could find them, and I remember the first time I tried on some size 12 boots she had from Lane Bryant; the same kind of lift.

I’m sure that I have mentioned this before, but it is my sense that there is insufficient exuberance, insufficient joy and insufficient dancing in my life.

Here we are, coming up to a big public festival, and I have no sense of fun.   I have boots I can’t wear and a sister I cannot trust.

But somewhere, in my body, I know where the power is.

Just gotta put on my boots and dance.


I’ll tell you this true; I’m not healing.

I’m in this cul-de-sac without a car this weekend.  My parents are away for two nights, after a big push to get them out by 2PM yesterday and a requirement to walk 4 miles to a bus tomorrow at 6:30 AM to meet my mother at a 10:30 doctors appointment, today is for cleaning and the possibility that they bail early.  My sister has the car she took away from me almost two weeks ago, having had it for a week since she pulled into an intersection and got the front end totaled.

The new season of Celebrity Rehab has started with the two-hour meet & greet.  I understand the women much more than the men — actually I usually don’t understand the men at all.  The participant who touches me is Amber, a model locked in a messy co-dependent relationship with her mother who got her started on drugs.

Dr. Drew is clear to her that she needs to heal, invoking the aircraft safety warning to place the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others.  But he is also aware that there will be anger, that she holds anger against this woman who was supposed to protect her, but instead demanded caretaking, and that anger will have to come out.  Those opiates are for pain, and the pain is deep.

When no one is here, I often get dressed for an event I don’t attend.   Last night it would have been the Zombie Prom, a benefit for the local women’s roller derby team.  I would get to go into my fugue state as I pull together an outfit and paint my face, making art with wit and style.

I wouldn’t end up going anyway, though.

The reason is simple: in the end, I would be there alone. No pals, no partner, no connections.  Yes, there might be people there to meet, but they are in groups and knots, and I would be alone.

This is the real experience of a tranny life, that aloneness, the isolation that comes from stigma.  You can’t be trans unless you are willing to walk away from expectations, and for me that started very, very, very early.  I ratted out the bus driver when I was four, telling truth rather than playing along.

I know that I am connected with other transpeople spread thinly; TBB, Miss Rachelle, Gwyneth, and the people who have commented here, like Grace and Abby.

But after a few weeks of attacks, including one by someone who invoked the authority of what people close to me KNOW, and from my sister, well, my skin hurts all the time.  I did reach out to my sister last Sunday morning with bread, cheese and empathy, but what I got for that is two calls for help later in that day.  Her last reach out to me was a request to shop for cars with her tomorrow.  She can’t reach out to me except as someone who needs my help, and that doesn’t assist me in healing.

My muscles ache from tension, my reptilian brain keeps feeling that people want to hurt me, even if I know that isn’t really true.  They just want to not be challenged by me, and that challenge is the excuse they need to judge me as bad and reach out to slap me.

My sister feels the “resentment” I have towards my parents, and the reason she feels it so acutely is because she feels it too.   We have much the same stuff.  The anger Dr. Drew identifies in Amber comes from the same place, and until you can get past the resentment and engage the anger, well, it just stays.

My father, who completely misread my relationship with my sister — what can you expect from an old guy with Aspergers? — set her on me and created a bigger mess, ignoring my warnings.

And now my self-talk is bad, my pain is omnipresent, and my isolation is worse and deeper.

It’s been a few weeks and I am not healing.

I don’t see any way that I can heal, alone like this.

And as bad as that feels, I have to now get out the vacuum and dusters and clean.



Today, I had to go with my father to the stairlift joint.  He has a plan to put two straight stairlifts in, something that the stairlift people say will not work if you have a 45 degree angle turn in your stairs, resulting in a pie shaped landing.

We got honked at from behind when he quickly braked to get into a left turn lane.  I let it go.

We missed the right turn because I couldn’t change his course fast enough.  I let it go.

We turned left as he wanted rather than right as I wanted at the next turn.  I let it go.

We missed the turn into the place even though I was chanting “Right Now, Right, Now!”  He told me he wasn’t looking at the big sign.  I let it go.

We tried to back up out of a bus pull off into a traffic lane of a major road.  I let it go.

You see, this is what I have to do with my parents.  I have to let things go.  They just can’t do what I want them to do, so I let it go and just try to do it again.  I know that demanding more from them will not work; they are limited and stress does not create change.

They are away this weekend and I won’t have access to a car.  I let it go, just like I let go the story session last week or the lobbyist job for trans, or whatever the hell else.  I let it go.

I think about people are incredibly judgmental.  They always know what is right and how other people are wrong, are fuck-ups.   They can’t let things go, even when it is none of their damn business.

But when people attack or demand, what else can I do but let it go?

That seems to be the only choice.

18 Months

18 months after announcing that they were transsexual, LA Times Sports Writer is back to calling himself Mike again.

It makes me crazy that the HBA model of transsexual as illness requires definitive and final claim of identity just to come out and force the door open in the workplace and the family.

I gave a heads up last August on this:

When you first come out as a transgendered person,
you spend your first year in absolute euphoria.
Then reality sets in,
and you have to make a life and deal with the stigma.
Joan Roughgarden, NY Times Magazine, 9 May 2004

Making a trans life is very hard, no matter what people who have never tried it want to believe.   It’s all well and

To me, balancing history, obligation and expression in a culture that abhors complexity is ripping.

My best wishes to Christine/Mike, whatever they need now.

And my best wishes to all the rest of us who need to emerge as trans.

May you all be able to explore your possibilities before you have to finally claim them.

Someone Hits Me


Reply to: comm-879349860@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-10-14, 6:00PM EDT

Once Upon A Time there was a Tranny named Callan:

He was very very bitter because he was unable to be truthful as to who he really was, and how he really treats people. Remarking and bad mouthing people in his online WordPress blog, thinking that anyone really reads it, he would go on and on and on about people, places and events to which he never had the courage to attend himself as ‘herself” to which the response is always the same: stay in and bitch about it on his pathetic blog entitled,” The Loneliness Of A Long-Lost Tranny.”

Now people around this self-proclaimed Lost Tranny already KNEW that this was just another case of a poor self imaged tranny who doesn’t have the guts to stop freeloading off of his 80-something parent’s income, and go live the “independent girl’s life.” Instead he finds himself unable to become close to women of any kind. And this even includes those in “his” inner circle. Feeling constantly like a failure for not REALLY coming out to the world about who HE really is, the best thing “he/She” can really do now is put down all the women(both male AND female) that HE/SHE knows.

What’s it like Callan to live such a pathetic life, reciting fiction-truths about those around you who are actually LIVING their own lives? You know, the ones who aren’t afraid to be “out there” in the world with all of their imperfections and all while you stay in night after night only being able to “imagine and write away” how the rest of the real world is living their lives?

Tsk. Tsk. You’re not even a decent man and hardly a believable Gossip Girl.

Indeed Lost Callan, you truly are…..a lost soul indeed………

  • Location: Clifton Park, NY
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  • Last Piece Of My Heart

    I take care of the people around me.

    It is important to me for them to not only be cared for, but also to feel cared for.

    To that end, I am selfless, sacrificing for them.

    But there is a part of me that I hold close, for myself.

    That part is the experience of my femme heart in this world.

    I don’t share it.

    It’s too dangerous to share it because, being femme, it is way to exposed, vulnerable and tender.

    It’s that heart that stops me from building another shell that looks like a normative guy in the world.

    I just can’t do that again.

    If I can’t tell my truth, no use to be out.

    To my family, though, the idea that I hold this close is selfish.

    After all, my not getting on the grid is about them, isn’t it?

    Why won’t I just serve and comfort them by assuming a normative shell?

    They don’t like to see me suffer.  They don’t mind if I suffer, they just don’t like to see it.

    My sister wants me to tell her that there is no way I could engage dying.

    I can’t tell her that.  And that upsets her.  She thinks I am trying to manipulate her emotions.

    (Ready?  Here it comes, the most insidious manipulation of all)

    After all, if I really loved them, I would do the simple and normative things they ask, right?

    If I really loved them I would do whatever makes them happy, whatever the cost to me, right?

    I must be very, very selfish not to give up that last piece of my heart.

    All they want is what is best for me, and if I won’t give them that, what kind of asshole am I?

    I’ll tell you.

    I’m the kind of asshole who holds on to the last piece of her ragged heart, just like I clung to the last piece of the pink satin ribbon that bound my blanket as a child, the ribbon I would hold as I sucked my crooked index finger.

    I fought giving up that ribbon forever, holding onto tatters and refusing to give it up.

    And now, that’s the way I hold onto the last piece of my heart.

    It’s about me, not them.

    Tough Love

    The only way tough love ever works is if it is contrast to a background of tender love.  Without tender love, all love is tough love.

    From a very early age, transpeople are shamed, abused and humiliated into denying their very nature “for their own good.”

    If you grow up in that context, you become habituated to “tough love.” It is what you come to expect.

    I have mentioned before that in my self-chat I often end up saying “I love you [nickname]” and replying “You don’t really love me.  You only love [insert service phrase here].”

    Somehow, my sister believed that the threat of taking away something would move me to comply with her demands, demands she made with the attitude that they were “for your own good.”  She asserted a strategy of trying to beat me until I become compliant, which hasn’t really worked up to now, though it has left me scarred and scared.

    And when I mentioned something I did want that she ended up not helping with, she saw that as an attempt to hurt her by calling her a failure.

    Nope.  I can’t want unless I can want.  And the tough love tradition I expect tells me not to want, not to attach.

    I came back and no one has been present for my pain, even the simple physical pain I have from walking twenty miles in about twelve hours.

    Nope, it’s about them, so no tenderness for me.   Tenderness would require them to enter my world, yet to affirm me would be to challenge themselves, so no go there.

    My sister said she threatened me because she fears my resentment, especially of my mother.  And then she chooses to give me more to be resentful over, her attack on my caring and my integity.  Does that make any sense?

    Tough Love doesn’t move me. Decades of training, you know.

    But tender love?

    Gosh, I don’t know if I could even open to it now.

    But I know that if I don’t, I’m dead.

    Emotional Manipulation

    I get it.

    In the context of this family, the only reason for emotions is for emotional manipulation.

    That’s why, for example, a friend in high school named my mother’s house the place he would least like to be for the holidays.  Joy has little power to manipulate, so why be festive?  Bring everyone down to your level.

    The fact that I have emotions, then, and want to express them means that, by definition, I am trying to be manipulative.

    And the more I try to express them, the more manipulative I am.

    That gives people the liscense to hit back if they feel some emotion from me.

    I want this to change.

    I need this to change.

    But I know that it’s not going to change with my parents 84 and still emotionally blackmailing my sister to strongarm me.

    So how do you trust in change when you see no hope of change?

    Or does that just mean that they are trying to emotionally manipulate me, too?

    The Girl Everyone Sees As An Ogre

    Last night, my sister took away the car I use to run errands for my parents, and then threatened to call someone to have me put out of their house as a danger to them.

    She later explained all this as her being bad at emotional manipulation.  Their goal was to strongarm me into engaging my personal bankrupcy, so apparently an amateur intervention seemed good, threatening to take away what I care about, errands and a bed.

    I gave her the keys and chose to walk away.  This was not the desired result.

    My sister has explained to me that everyone fears me.  They fear me for the same reasons others fear me: I see clearly, remember clearly, I am very hard to manipulate, and I am very strong in battle.

    Problem is that I have been feared for those reasons since before I was eight, when I hit my father in the breadbasket and he then chose to stay away from me.

    My historic defense, as I have said here before, was always a very sharp brain and knowing how to push buttons while I stayed centered.  I used these to try to try and control my world by manipulating people around me.

    It’s been a while since I pulled that crap, though, somewhere around fifteen years.  I came more out, got more centered and learned lessons that God put Christine in my life to teach me.

    But there are a few things I hold close.  I am stuck here because after spending time falling off the grid — I needed that to let go of desire — I was evicted from my apartment soon after my landlord’s husband saw me as a tranny.  I exposed myself to that possibility, sure, by falling off the grid, but it was there.   That winter, my parents away, I came to shovel and pick up their mail and slipped on the ice, really messing up my ankle.  This put me into large medical debt.

    I ended up staying with my parents, sleeping on a couch, and doing the work that needed to be done.  I remember crawling along on all fours with the laundry basket because I couldn’t carry it on crutches, my parents watching as I then crawled up the stairs.

    The work here was clear and clearly needed, so much more today.  But it is work not valued, and I am well, I am feared.

    I left last night; walked 7 miles away, then 7 miles back.  But that doesn’t mean people cared for anything other than their own comfort.  They didn’t try to call until after I called them, didn’t ask where I was and if they could pick me up, didn’t empathize or anything.

    Of course, it was because I scare them.  Too big, too smart, too overwhelming.  They can’t imagine coming into my world, no matter how much they claim to love me; it’s just too queer, too intense, too emotional.

    This is all bad family dynamics, me the scapegoat since I was very very little.   My father wants to fix it by “sending [me} to a shrink,” as if I am not one of the most therapied people ever.  He wants the shrink to fix me so I won’t “hold a grudge.”  I invite therapists to read this journal; I suspect they will come away with the same conclusion that other counselors have come to, that I am a challenging person dealing with extroradinarily stressful challenges in a clear way.

    My family doesn’t read these blogs; my family finds me too much to handle, no matter how useful I am at eating shit.   I suspect that a theraputic professional would tell me to get away from the family dynamic to claim my own life.  I only have one, you know, and unless you take it, you lose it.

    I sent Rachel my narrative from last night, 16 minutes of messages from me.  And I asked her to write a story about “The Girl Everyone Saw As An Ogre.”

    You know, if you are seen as an Ogre for long enough — a half century, say — it is easy to believe that there is no way out.

    My sister devalued even my last role as a caretaker, later saying that I was good but that she feared the resentment I hold, especially against our mother.

    Yeah, there is meaning in what people say.  People want the problem that is me to resolve in a way they find comforting.  Emotional blackmail is a perfectly reasonable weapon.

    And me?

    It all blew up when it was clear she wasn’t going to listen to me.  I told her that she wasn’t safe for me to be around, and then she proved it by attempting massive emotional manipulation.

    I know, she probably felt challenged and afraid, pushed into a role she could not handle.  But the people who abuse you worst are always the ones who believe that whatever they do, they do “for your own good.”  And it is those people who you can’t fight back against, because they do love you even as they act out their own fears and frustrations against you, no matter how much you are left with the scars.

    Here is my one bit of advice to you: Never say anything to someone that you wouldn’t write on their head with a Sharpie.  Words count and words cut, and most often those words are more about you than you you target them at.


    I look at my skin full of scars and it is very easy to believe that no one will ever see me as anything but an orge.


    I Am A Toilet

    I have come to understand that my role in this family is to be the toilet.

    It’s my job to eat the shit and keep it down.

    Sometimes my sister comes over and pretends to be interested in my life.  But when I just tell her about the shit I have eaten in the last three days — like my brother jerking me around on a phone he asked for that I not only had to do all the work on, but also had to babysit his kids to get the chaos away from my parents, right after I pushed my mother a half mile though a plaza, shop with her, then negotiate when she wanted my father to come in and he was too zonked from pills and bad hip, as just one example — she blanches and goes all chokey.

    Of course, she eats shit too; that is the role of a retail manager, to be consumed by demands from bosses, customers and staff.  That’s why adding mine is just too much.  She does try, though; my brother is consumed with demands from his family, agrivating his Attention Defecit Disorder.

    I started seeing the shit when I was very, very young.  And very quickly I was taught that when I saw shit I had to eat it; my father didn’t understand, and my mother just liked to sit in her own filth, as she tells me even today when she works to guilt me into eating her shit about resisting the responsibility to get up to pee, for example.

    Eat the shit.   Like the shit of my own nature, as “stupid” as it is (“Stupid” was my nickname in the family until Seventh grade when the shrink told them to stop.)

    I am the cesspool, the septic system, the sewage eater.

    And who the hell likes a toilet?


    TBB, well, she looks back on her life and feels forgotten.

    Where are the connections and respect she should have as a mature person of status?  Hasn’t she done enough?

    Why are the people who stayed stuck getting more attention than she is?

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    I once went to a pastor who did counseling.

    “What would make you happy?” he asked me.

    “Oh,” I said.  “I suppose the same as would make anyone happy.”

    “Really?” he questioned me.  “Don’t we all have something unique that makes us happy?  What would make you happy?”

    “To be seen, understood, respected and valued for what I bring to the world,” I said.

    “Oh,” he said.  “Yes, I guess that it is the same thing that makes us all happy.”

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Last night, I saw one of Tim Gunn’s Guide To Style.

    This one was about an Asian woman who was a concert pianist and now is CEO of a cosmetic company.

    She approached the world as performance, very cerebral, very controlled.

    The Tim Team had to get her back to emotion, behind the history of anorexia and such.

    In other words, they had to show that they saw her, understood her, repected and valued her for who she was, so she could feel safe letting go and being seen.

    “Oooh, she looks so severe,” said Tim upon seeing the after tape.

    “Yes,” said Greta, “but she looks so happy. She is comfortable with that, and that means the people around her are comfortable.”

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    This morning, Issac Mizrahi put a woman into heels on Live With Regis & Kelly.

    “I love heels,” Kelly said.  “I feel comfortable and powerful when I put them on.”

    I imagined what Blanchard would say, because for him, autogynphila is fetishism, women’s clothes are torture, and therefore anyone born male who said they feel comfortable in heels is covering an erotic fetish.

    I believe heels move Kelly into Eros.  But for her, that Eros is about heart expression and power, not about instant sexual gratification.

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    TBB, well she feels invisible.

    In her new job, she’s just not talking about her emergence and her history.

    Those parts of her life, well, just better they stay invisible rather than be confusing and dismissive to those around her.  She knows that if they sense a contraction between her now and him then, then something will be lost, denied, erased.

    Still, last year at SCC she and I were sitting at a back table and someone came up to us to tell us they saw us perform thirteen years ago and vividly remembered us as breathtaking and resonant.


    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    I have spent my life with the goal of mostly being invisible.

    This hasn’t been easy, because it’s not hard for me to be memorable.

    All it required is that I stay silent and unhappy.

    For TBB, it required her resisting connecting the dots in her own story.

    Same difference.

    We couldn’t stand and fight, so we moved on.

    But now, it seems, time to take a position.

    Time to hope that people see, understand, respect and value us.

    So we can show our inner knowledge

    And show our happiness.

    Trinidad, The Movie

    Caught Paval & Hodges “Trinidad” when it played in Rhinebeck as part of the Woodstock Film Festival.

    They have said that they initially set out to do a movie about the “Sex Change Capital Of The World,”  but are now promoting the movie about three trans women.

    This may well explain why the movie is torn between interviews and set-pieces about how Trinidad natives view gender and their town’s noteriety.     Yet, there is no exploration of the history around Stanley Biber, in fact an NPR story heard in the film gives the only decent background.

    It seems that the women started off being secondary before being pressed into service as a storyline for the film, and it plays that way.  The documentary sequences are limited; most of their presence is in interviews which are underscored by sad, haunting and haunted music.

    I was regularly chatting with one of the principals in the movie as the story went on.  This isn’t new to me; I was regularly chatting with Lola Cola as she and Robert Eads faced his last days, as documented in the amazing film “Southern Comfort.”

    Kate Davis was making a TV documentary on trans when she met Robert, and used a then new digital video camera to document his life.  The story was primary there, and that means that the film is full of love, love all the way around.

    You know the most important trans surgery, right?

    It’s when you finally pull the stick out of your own ass.

    It seemed to me that Hodges and Raval were more interested in the stick than the removal of it, and Trinidad offers few people who sway and move naturally.   Their approach is very literal; getting shots to symbolize something, such as a transwoman entering a church, rather than to reveal something, such as shots of that transwoman interacting with the congregation.

    Marci Bowers and others talk about Trinidad as a “spiritual center” for transsexuals, but there is almost no spirituality on display in the movie.  Instead there is an obsession with the “art” of creating neo-vaginas, from both Biber and Bowers.  Bowers then goes onto to a discourse on the art of creating a neo-female life, offering distate that the other two women let their grown children still call them “dad.”

    From the images on the screen, which revel in clinical detail, to the ideas offered, Trinidad is a movie about sex changes, their lives, their details, their capital.

    Sadly, at least to me, that means that it is not a movie about transwomen and their experience; their feelings of loss, their claiming a new life, not a movie about the love that drives them and ties them together.

    It is my understanding that the primary goal of MorningLow house wasn’t about the details of surgery or even the details of restoring an old house on a shoestring.  Rather, the primary goal was someplace that the emotional and spirtual sides of transition could be facilitated, not just altered bodies but emerging souls.

    Maybe, if MorningLow had gone into operation, the stories of those who passed through and those who cared for them — those who loved them — would have been more prominent.

    But as it is, Trinidad shows a town much like other old railroad towns of the west, where people roll in, are serviced and then leave, new and repaired.

    And looking at the mechanics who choose to do that work is much less compelling than the stories of those who have passed through, and then moved on into new and transformed lives, now opened to their own Eros and their own love of the world.

    Trinidad.  Not worth the trip, at least for me.

    Meaning == Motivational Speaking?

    “I left my baby in the car all day and she died of heat stroke,” said the teacher on Oprah, “and I knew her death was a lesson.  So, to give meaning to myself, I made myself into a motivational speaker on the importance of slowing down and paying attention to this moment, even in this hurry-hurry, rush-rush, serve-the machine world.”

    Somehow, the idea that anyone who faces challenges in their lives can be redeemed by polishing their story to palatable reduction and selling it as a simplified lesson for all, that salvation comes from testifying to how we learned from our own moment in hell, that transcendence comes from engaging and honed confession, well, it just makes me a bit queasy.

    Our story isn’t about others, and our shaping our story to give others some kind of thrilling tale often ends up separating us from the real experiences of life.

    Yes, we become story, but when that story is craftily constructed to appear redemptive, well, maybe all we are learning is how to use the conventions of the motivational speaker to insulate ourselves from challenging, messy, awesome and real humanity.

    Incompetent Or Impaired?

    I watch TV and Geraldine Ferraro wants Sarah Palin to do well in the debate tomorrow night because she wants little girls to know they can go toe-to-toe with men and do well.

    And I think, well, what do little transpeople get to know?

    My life is a life of impairment.  I may have always known who I am, but I also always knew that who I am is deemed unacceptable, false, sick, perverted and so on.

    In a Law And Order: Criminal Intent my mother had on yesterday, Goren’s exit line was “See, that’s what happens when you keep people from doing what they do best. It makes them insane.”

    People around you, well, it is virtually impossible for them to understand the costs of this life of impairment.  If they understand, then they have to understand how their fear and desire to appear normative make them complicitous in impairing you. 

    No, they would rather believe that you are incompetent.  That something is broken inside you.

    There is no sense that what is broken is your spirit, what is broken is your heart, broken from being kept from doing what you do best.  

    Broken from living an impaired life.

    The story of when TBB came out, so much family against her, trying to pound back the “sickness” and protect the children, and causing sickness and damage instead, well, it tears me up.

    But I know that her story is the story of every tranny, broken by impairment, by stigma and shame, and the impairment only gets more damaging the closer you are to being out and breathing in the world.

    I know this is the story of researchers who want to find our seminal sickness, our incompetence, and therefore refuse to look at how a lifetime of impairment can break someone, break them badly.

    In this house I play small for the comfort of others, just trying to get someone to the bathroom.  But that makes some see me as incompetent, unable to address “the longer term issues” that my charges don’t engage, because their longer term issue is death.

    If you know a transperson, don’t see them as incompetent.  Understand how social impairment has destroyed them, and work to remove those impairments.

    It sounds simple until you face it, and face how those impairments placed on them keep you comfortable, away from the deeper challenges of life beyond the limits of normative expectation.

    Transpeople are not pathetic because they are born with a horrible disfiguring disease.

    Transpeople are broken because they are beaten to have them deny who they know themselves to be.

    And that will cripple anyone.

    A Breath Of Fresh Rage

    A flurry of comments; too much to make sense of quickly.  Heidi breaks my heart and Simone searches.

    So many things that just creep up; Sarah’s Wedding, Jendi’s compliment, more.

    But Ms. Rachelle says that my “political comment” was interesting and enjoyable.

    It wasn’t a political comment.  It was just part of the struggle.

    But it tapped into a power that makes queers potent, one of the things that makes anyone potent.

    It’s rage.


    Rage is the visible tip of passion.

    And passion is what I swallow to stay small.

    The idea that somehow, I am more interesting and enjoyable when I let that that rage empower me, when I let that passion show, well, hard to engage when you have worn yourself out in trying to deny that passion.

    My life, though, is in that passion, the passion revealed through my rage, my outrage, my outrageousness.

    I tell TBB to be big. 

    But who tells me?