No Big Whoop

ShamanGal is delighted.    She came out to a friend at work and it turned out that transgender, such a huge deal to her since she was small, such a defining element of her life, is no big deal to this friend.  In fact, her friend doesn’t think other people even need to know that SG is trans, because she didn’t until SG told her.

ShamanGal is dismayed.       She came out to a friend at work and it turned out that transgender, such a huge deal to her since she was small, such a defining element of her life, is no big deal to this friend.  In fact, her friend doesn’t think other people even need to know that SG is trans, because she didn’t until SG told her.

If we tell you that we are trans and you think it is no big whoop, is that a victory for us, because you accept us as normative, and that’s great?

If we tell you that we are trans and you think it is no big whoop, is that a fail for us, because you have no idea how enormous a life force being trans is, no idea the kind of battering that transpeople get growing up in this culture?

When people accept trans with no drama, does that value our shining essential humanity, or does that devalue the real pain and challenge in our story?

Maybe the point is that once people are in relationship with us, they will slowly learn our story, slowly become sensitized to the real struggle of growing up trans in a heterosexist culture.

Maybe the point is that once people are in relationship with us, the challenging and unpleasant parts of our story will just be excised out as we assimilate into their world of immediate and present concerns.

One reason transpeople don’t work hard to pass is because they don’t want to cut off their story, a story of being bruised and battered in a way that profoundly shaped us.

One reason transpeople fear the world is because some won’t get over our trans nature and let us participate and give our gifts in the sharing of everyday life.

Trans is a big whoop for us, and if you don’t understand why, you don’t know us.

Trans is a big whoop for us, and if you think that is all there is to us, you leave us crippled.

If you take my life so lightly, do you understand how heavy it was for me?   If you treat me as a heavy, how do I own my own lightness?

Are the details of a trans life just too much information, not something that has to be shared everyday?

Are the details of a trans life profoundly important in shaping our choices and our fears in a world where trans expression is still marginalized and stigmatized in ways that are hard to understand unless you have experienced it?

I suspect the answer to all of this is “Yes,” so finding the balance between understanding and moving past it is always going to be a challenge for people who were shaped for decades by having to live a transgender life.

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