Transgender emergence, at least in my experience, is a process of stripping years of defensive armour to bare our stored pain and reclaim the tender heart deep inside of us, then building a new expression that navigates between deep personal truth and social effectiveness in the face of massive ignorance and stigma.
Somehow, I don’t see that process as being helped by being made the theme of a tabloid oriented “reality” television show focused on image and drama.
What happens when you get what you have always dreamed that you wanted — passing at the doctors office, say, or being in a circle of women who value your voice?
At that moment does everything fall into place, healing you completely, removing your hurt and transforming your life into happiness?
Or does getting what you dreamed would fix you just make you understand something deeper and more profound in your life?
Americans delight in the notion that if they just had the one thing they always dreamed of — wealth, fame, a perfect partner, whatever — their life would finally be full of happiness.
This quest for the next, new desire is the stuff of “reality” television, because even while we revel in the schadenfreude of seeing others grab for things that fall short, dropping them on their face, we continue to aspire to have the things they have, somehow believing that for us, it would all be different.
Becoming focused on what we desire tends to just hide the hollowness of our life, at least until we get it and then realize that the magical object hasn’t made us happy in the way we dreamed. Often, it just dances our feet off.
We do the best we can in the world and if we are lucky, our work consumes and delights us, letting us create something of which we are proud. We achieve mastery and find surprise, every day a sweet, sour, salty savoury taste of what we need to survive.
There is no magic talisman, The meaning comes not in the object of focus, but in the chase.
If you believe that the chase for transpeople is mostly external, about clothes and surgery and passing, then you have to look to find those for whom those objects created satisfaction and meaning.
My experience is that the chase is mostly internal, mostly about finding and recovering the jewels we have always had inside, about going into our own hell to reclaim the soul life. It is about finding ourself, not about the images and objects of our desire.
Seeing that external moulding being venerated just makes me even sadder than I usually am.