My Own Transgender

“People expect me to do what is expected of every transgender person,” she says. “I have to be that voice to tell them that I’m my own transgender. I’m not what people say I have to be. Or what transgenders do or how they live their lives. I live my life.”
Tim Smith, The Prancing Elites

“I’m my own transgender.”   Yup, girl, you got it.   You speak for each of us in that.   Trans has never been about conforming to some group norm, it has always been about claiming our own precious, beautiful and unique heart.

The episode (S2E4) where after six years of living as a woman Tim asks her mother to call her “she,” to respect her heart and possibilities over her body and history, is heartbreaking.   Mom just can’t let go.

Producers prodded the other team members to bring up the issue, asking Tim to stand up, but what Tim is negotiating is what every transperson has to: How do I balance my needs, my connections & relationships, especially to family, the way people see me, and more in the way I identify in the world?

Seeing Tim be so vulnerable to ask her family to respect what she knows in her heart, what she shows on her skin everyday was tough but beautiful.   It’s part of the process each one of us has to go through, and like everything else, it takes facing resistance, knowing that healing always takes time and patience.

“I’m my own transgender.”

That’s the message, right there, spoken as well as anyone can say it.

Thanks, Tim.   And blessings for what looks to be an incredible journey, eh?

Get a glimpse of Tim here:

Golden Mud

I don’t want anyone telling me what to think about them, telling me how they should be seen in the world.

That’s why I don’t believe I have the right to tell people how to see me, how they have to think of me.

I am definitely a golden rule kind of gal; don’t make demands of others which you wouldn’t made want of yourself.   I have spent too much time over the decades with people who demand that I accept their narrative and beliefs as absolutely true while they reject my narrative and beliefs.    That stance just doesn’t seem fair, reasonable or appropriate to me.

I will, however, work hard to understand what your choices reveal about you in this moment.   Like Shaw’s tailor, I will measure you again each time I meet you rather than projecting my beliefs about who you were or who you should be or who you must be onto you.

If what you show me challenges my belief system, well, then it’s my belief system that has to change rather than trying to force my old worldview onto you.

To me, this is the essence of queer, of accepting people as individuals even if they make choices I would never make for myself, choices that I just don’t believe in.   As long as they are not forcing themselves on others without their consent I need to accept them as they reveal themselves.

The one caveat I might have to free speech is that using your free speech to try and silence or stifle the free speech of others is an abuse of it.   Say your piece, sure, but if you can’t respect others have the right to say their piece, even if it is completely against your beliefs, then you don’t deserve respect.   It’s a golden rule thing again, at least for me.

When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.   Don’t let your hopes or expectations or assumptions erase what they display.   How you do anything is how you do everything; you reveal yourself with every choice you make.

I don’t feel entitled to demand that everyone agrees with me.  I don’t feel entitled to demand that everyone likes me.   I don’t feel entitled to demand that everyone is nice to me, though I would hope that they believe in the golden rule enough to not treat me in a way which would they would find hateful to them.

That line, though, between being in your face and demanding people treat you as you want to be treated, as you believe that you deserve to be treated, and being respectful to others beliefs in the world in a way you would want them to be respectful to yours, well, that’s a damn tricky line.

The problem with the golden rule is that there is no out clause.   “If someone does something you find hateful to you, you can whoop their ass, doing whatever to them you would find hateful, because they fucking well deserve it!”

Once you find reasons to justify breaking the golden rule, well, then breakdown is rampant.

Sure, you may need to stop people who are hurting other people, may need to stop them with socially agreed upon force, but once you stop treating them with respect, you sink to their level and lose your own dignity, standing and humanity in the process.

I don’t want to impose myself in the world because I don’t want to be imposed upon in the world, even if much of my life has been spent being imposed upon by people who believe their narrow assumptions, beliefs and worldview are right while mine are wrong, stupid, destructive and just shit that deserves to be mocked and erased.

They may have a team who all agree with them which they believe gives them standing to marginalize, humiliate and destroy me, which they believe gives them authority to violate the golden rule because they are doing it for others, for the sanctity of their organization.   Vengeance is ours, says the mob!

As a transperson, I know that I am an individual in a world full of individuals.   That’s the best I can ever be, the best any of us can be.

Yet, I face people who believe that their personal responsibility has been given to the group, that they act as an entitled member of their church, party, family, village, tribe or whatever.   They follow some set of rules which tells them who they can call out as a heretic, a traitor, a rebel, a turd.    They don’t have to respect what I reveal because they already know the right answer about me, an answer that reduces me to someone who fits neatly into their limited canon.

I don’t want anyone telling me what to think about them, telling me how they should be seen in the world.

That’s why I don’t believe I have the right to tell people how to see me, how they have to think of me.