“Why aren’t you out there speaking for transpeople? You are the sanest tranny that I know,” TBB was asked by an old friend from Trinidad CO, one who has certainly met his share of transpeople in “The Sex Change Capital Of The World.”
She was in a gay bar for karaoke night when the man next to her at the bar asked if she dressed this way often. For a transwoman who has been full time for over a decade now, that can feel like an insulting remark.
TBB just kept her cool and told him about her status and experience.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
He had no context for understanding her, so he started with an assumption that was far off, but when TBB answered gracefully, he gracefully changed his understanding.
For TBB, meeting people where they are is key. She has worked through her own triggers so she can meet people where they are, understand their perspective, work to find common ground.
That’s why, I suspect, her friend from Trinidad finds her sane, because she is open to others, not trying to impose her beliefs, not someone who can easily be upset or rattled.
The vast majority of people who speak for transgender are adolescents. They are newly out and claiming their space, asking for the spotlight, asserting their independence. For transpeople, that second adolescence when we come out again, struggling to find a new and more effective way to be ourselves in the world, is always a difficult time.
Once we find our maturity, though, we become pretty boring. TV producers don’t find us as fiery, and we don’t have the same burning need to announce our presence with authority. We become balanced and conciliatory, often choosing just to keep our head own and tend to our own business.
In other words, we come more from a heartspace than from an place of demand, working to build bridges rather than insist on change or else. We move beyond the rules and templates, beyond conventions and expectations to a place where we can meet people where they are and then build bridges of understanding.
TBB is sane, sane enough that she doesn’t feel the need to get media attention to tell the world how it should behave.
That’s why she speaks for herself, and not for her class.
And it looks good on her.