The most audacious speech is often cloaked.
The joy of the mask is always freedom. We are allowed to move beyond the measured and appropriate, beyond the pleasant and balanced, into exuberant truth.
The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement.
But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
— Niels Bohr
Truth is not some kind of forced balance or some kind of mushy compromise, truth is held in the conflict between poles, in the tension between states. Bohr also said “anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it,” since quantum theory removes absolutes and mocks knowledge, tying together what “should” be separate and separating what “should” be connected.
To be nice in the world, we have to be equitable, rational, considerate. Usually, that means we have to be boring, bland and without flash.
To be audacious in he world, we have to be energetic, bold, and thrusting. We go for movement, working to engage conflict and stir emotions.
Transgender expression has always had a component of masking, of concealment which empowers audacious revelation. We hide what conventional society expects to reveal truths which are hidden in polite discourse.
For earnest transpeople who wish to stay nice, who want the cloak to erase ambiguity rather than to venerate it, this is often hard to hear. (“When she came out, my trans daughter threw off her ambiguity,” one mother said,” and she dumped it all onto us.”)
For me, though, the cloaked polemic has always been part of my life, speaking in tongues that take a pure position. This is the heart of satire, taking a stance to the extremes so that the twists and absurdities inherent in it can be exposed and revealed.
Unless we playfully create such pure statements, how can we ever look at the ripples of a position, the connections that lie unspoken? How can we ever find a way to challenge what sounds lovely when spoken as moderation but conceals deeper ramifications?
Going to extremes reveals so much, which is why society usually keeps those bits in shadow, leaving revelation only to the audacious, those who so often speak from behind masks.
This tradition of satire wrapped in a cloaked polemic is a gift that comes to is from many who have used transgender expression to reveal what lies beneath, showing continuous common humanity that is both beautiful and a bit sinister. That revelation exposes and lets us choose which angels we will follow.
The audacity to say what isn’t “nice” but is truthful, while lubricating the rapier with wicked humour, is part of the cultural heritage that comes down to me from other queer shamans who sliced apart walls that were less than paper to reveal deep connection.
If trans expression isn’t about empowerment, playfully revealing the very human truths that lie deep within us and challenge the illusory boundaries imposed by society, then I’m not sure that I want to deal. We are not broken people trying to find peace, we are audacious people claiming our own beauty and connection to the universe beyond convention and expectation.
The most audacious speech is often cloaked, hiding the mundane to reveal the magical.
What a gift, eh?