My triumph is inseparable from my tragedy. They are two sides of the same coin.
Any rebirth I have achieved came at the price of death, letting go of the past to claim the future.
Transcendence always requires a leap, losing something — comfort, safety, defences, youth, ignorance — to claim something more. “Normal” must be shattered to allow the new to emerge.
Miracles exist in the way my perception shifts, seeing beyond the fear I held to embrace the love that I need.
Until my heart breaks and my mind opens, they cannot grow and expand to take in a bigger vision of how I am connected to the universe through pain and joy.
This is the lesson in every trans story, the ones people write off as “brave” and the ones they write off as “demented,” that to claim who we are deep inside we need to be willing to journey beyond comfort and convention to reveal our spirit beyond being trapped in the expectations and assumptions of others. We have to own our own power, our own individuality, our own queerness.
As we tell the heartbreaking stories of what we lost, the personal tragedy of how people dehumanized us, marking us as freaks, as suspect, we also tell the transformational stories of how we moved beyond and followed the deep inner knowledge of our personal creation over the projections and fears of those around us.
Trans expression is the triumph of the soul truth, of considered and creative emergence over the limiting presumptions imposed on us. Society was set up to protect the status quo, to only accept a kind of determinism based on reproductive biology that enforced a heterosexist, breeding metaphor, using sexism to break apart humanity so we could only have what we need when we came together in heterosexual pair bonded relationships.
We had to break the rules to be more fully ourselves and the price we paid for that was tragic, yes, isolated by the fears and determined ignorance around us, but the gifts we received, the truth we claimed is transcendent.
As individuals, though, being able to claim our own jewels, to get over the tragedy we know that being trans in this world has cost us, the alienation, abuse and shaming, is a very hard thing to do. We live very alone in our closets, seeing a vast sea of people who are ready to tell us who we really are and very few who are willing to see inside, trust our soul and support us through the bruising path towards emergence.
The mines and attacks we face are very clear to us, a third gotcha waiting around every corner, planted deep within our head, the fears driving an authoritarian self policing which keeps us small, keeps us broken and often keeps us lashing out at those who make choices we have denied to ourself out of a sense of implanted furor.
Our tragedy and our triumphs are so interwoven, together so incredibly provocative to those who want to stay in their comfort zone, that they can not be separated.
We depend on those who engage us to understand that the tragedy we have endured always holds the seeds of our triumph and the triumphs we proclaim have always come at the cost of profound tragedy. They are two sides of the coin we paid to find a way to be true to our heart and a part of culture, to be both loving, tame members of society and bold, wild respecters of our inner truth.
Sharing our very human stories demands those who care about us open their very human hearts, understanding that the walls we want to place between men and women, between good and evil, between tragedy and triumph are only illusions. Nothing is one or the other, and in this finite world, every victory comes with a cost.
Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. The price of rebirth is always death, just as the price of spring is always winter. Choices must be made, repercussions must be endured, loss must be accepted before the new and better can emerge.
As individual transpeople in the throes of change we cannot always speak for the full circle of terror and transcendence, of tragedy and triumph. We tell our stories, open our experience, needing to trust that others will be able to see the jewels in the sewage, value our fight for both the costs and the joys it brings.
To ask transpeople to only share the happy parts, the nice parts, the clean parts, to try and force our stories into binaries, casting us as holy victims and others as evil oppressors, to demand that we respect your own fears & fundamentalism by following the political correctness that keeps you comfortable, well, that is to deny us our rich and full humanity. It is to require us to keep self policing just to keep you unchallenged because you reserve the right to lash out against that which challenges your own rationalizations by exposing your own fears.
I know why our stories are too trans or not trans enough for directors to put in their projects, because our lives are full of the nuance and ambiguity which comes from exposing deep and profound humanity. We are never just tragic or triumphant, never just one or the other, never just simple and surfaced, even if that would make the story easier to tell, make it go down better by serving the audiences assumptions and expectations.
Trans reveals that nothing is just one or the other, including revealing that triumph never comes without the price of tragedy, that tragedy never comes without the seeds of triumph. To go there demands that we go there, not just trying for some desired or expected outcome but instead being open to the divine surprises that will change everything, demolishing our assumptions and opening us to connection.
Any demand to separate triumph from tragedy ends up with us not being able to comprehend the scope and power of either of those fundamental human forces.