If I had to tell people one thing about trans, just one thing, it would be this:
Transgender is about the knowledge of the heart.
Transgender expression is someone trying to tell you what they feel, trying to show you their heart. Even if their expression contravenes some other “facts” you think you know about them, they are working to tell you a truth about their heart.
Now, there are lots of other layers to trans expression. Hearts don’t just show themselves, nor do they exist in a vacuum. Hearts need defending and hearts need developing; we aren’t born wholehearted.
There is also lots of explication around this call. “I want to show you my heart, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to get partners, retain status, stay safe, tell a joke, whatever. ”
For those who see trans expression as kind of intellectual exercise, though, as something put on, as something essentially ironic, as some kind of symbology, as some kind of sickness or abjection, as some kind of silly play, as some kind of “fuck you” move, as some kind of canard, as some kind of play for titillation, well, they miss the underlying truth.
Transgender is about the knowledge of the heart. It’s about being willing to move beyond conventional, compulsory, assigned gender roles to express something so powerful that we will be crushed if we keep it inside and hidden.
I know, I know. This heart thing isn’t often how transgender appears on the surface. We learn early to defend our hearts, to contextualize them, to keep them safe. Heck, many transpeople even think they keep their heart hidden with clever compartmentalization, even (or maybe especially) hidden from themselves.
And trans is easy to confuse with systems of social structure that keep us constrained, easy to conflate with medical theories about why some of us are this way, easy to get lost in creation myths that try to contextualize the presence of transgender hearts.
Still, transgender is about the knowledge of the heart. It may be about exploring that knowledge, or even about denying that knowledge, but transgender is about the knowledge of the heart.
In the end, this is the underlying request of every transperson in the world: see and affirm my heart. Don’t get stuck on my biology or my history, don’t pin me down with your expectations of who I should be, don’t even get confused by how much I struggle or how much I stay defended.
See and affirm my heart, please. Be safe with my tender essence, beating below all the fol-de-rol of a human, social life.
Don’t get fixated on the energy it takes to walk through walls, to cross boundaries many see as solid. Don’t see my expression as some kind of mask, the reality underneath complying to your conventional and comforting understanding of binaries.
See and affirm my heart, please. Transgender is about the knowledge of the heart.
And, while you are at it, maybe I can help you open to your own knowledge of your own heart. Maybe together we can affirm each other, affirm those parts of us that beat with life and so easily get hidden under the demands to fit in.
Transgender is about the knowledge of the heart and that is the poetry that underlies all our rationalized actions.
I show you my heart and I am vulnerable, tender and exposed.
But when someone shares with you the deepest knowledge of their heart, isn’t that the best time to meet them with deep empathy and deeper love of our shared & precious humanity?