I’m puzzled, vexed even. I appear to have this compulsion, this desire to transition in flagrante delicto, levolors pulled up tight, leg canted cheekily in the window like I’m in Amsterdam or something. This is a tricky posture, not simply because after two years of not doing yoga my hips have fused, but because evidently I’m a terribly sensitive tranny, and when you remark unkindly on said proffered parts I am stunned like a cow at her last meal. I have begun to understand prima facie (boy we’re frontin’ some latin today! Wassup!) the pleasure and pain of activism lived aloud. I forgot that when you put it out there, the people will have their feelings. And feelings are often what transpeople have left, after job, partner, school, friends have tossed us out.
Until I’m in a gang of t-folk, I forget how raw-boned, how flayed some us of are. My partner and I recently hosted a workshop titled “How Transgender Can Save the World” at UNC’s Unity Conference. It was upstairs stuff – fusing Jesus and Spongebob, transformers, nudibranch and Lady Gaga in a trans-envisioned world of interstices, of journeying, of having all eight limbs planted firmly everywhere or anywhere at any time. My experience transitioning has torn some hymeneal membrane in me and left me accessible to sensations of collective consciousness with other creatures. In this unanticipated unity I’ve lost my capacity to eat meat, even my beloved staple tuna fish; we’ve taken to feeding every stray in the neighborhood and sometimes that includes the guy looking for “bus fare to Raleigh to see his poor baby girl at Rex Hospital because her mama too sick.” Suckers aren’t only on the arms of octopi. And I want to share this, this dissolving of my own binary, the binary of us v them, and how powerful a force trans can be for softening all these social sausage casings.
If I have a message, and I guess I do, it’s that some of us may be forced to fend in a tragically cruel world of abuses and horrors but we don’t all have to live there in our brains. I have seen groups of LGBTQETC folk cross their arms over their collective chests when they aren’t hearing something they think they want to hear; I see their collective antennae scoping for hidden insults, agendas, probing for potential hurts. This is natural, in a sorely marginalized community. It’s the pathology of the disenfranchised. We’ve got collective PTSD and we’re pretty fucking jumpy. But we KNOW THIS. We know isolated and marginalized groups tend to peck at our own – who else will feel us; for the rest of the world we’re spectral or worse: television entertainment. Oh baby transchicken, I feel you! Your feathers are the sweetest softest down and your eggs pure nectar encased in luminescent mica – one sip and blood turns to ichor, divine and poisonous to mortals. I adore you transperson, I mean you no harm.
And I will not capitulate to peer pressure. I will not tell you anything but how powerful you are, how huge, how like a natural force – I will not ask you only to fight for your space, your “rights.” You are evolution at its zenith. Who else can alchemically transmute poison (hormones) into gold (your body)? Who else takes mammoth wounds, surgeries and corporal displacements and creates a new being? Who, having been rent asunder, turned inside-out, excoriated, cast out, asked to leave, don’t-let-the-screen-door-of-your-childhood-hit-you-on-the-ass-on-the-way-out -- turns around and comes back, like a boomerang starfish? You, dear. That’s who. You have forced me to imagine you on your own terms, so don’t ask me to redact the text. You are the fire asking me to call you a match. Well I won’t do it, I cannot.
I’m a sensitive guy and my feelings get easily hurt. But I wed you somehow, I’m wearing your ring, and goddamn it, Mama told me to STAY. If we’re going to be in this union together, let’s get one thing sort of straight. I believe you hold the twinkle of God’s great grin in your bosom or manchest. I’m convinced you have strength beyond a thousand bridges, and the gentleness to merge one with another one, so Babyboygirl, make me a sandwich sans tuna; I aint going nowhere.
For my non-trans friends – I’m blowing out a candle on a cupcake of hope. My hope is that someday soon, we all intuit how meaningless any of this actually is, this body form, these social filing systems and hierarchies. Someday we’ll wake up and realize, like this morning when I lost a tooth and drank a rich dark beer and ate a stale scone while watching a band fronted by a 65year old nurse, that it was all a dream.