05-21-02 dean: something from mimi
lookee here, its our interview with mimi about the bathroom arrest and stuff, coming out soon in maximum rock'n'roll. thanks mimi!
Okay, I'm so overwhelmed. It seems like law enforcement is coming down on so many of us, in so many ways these days. Please take just a minute and read the know your rights pamphlets on this site, especially the one about "When the Government or FBI Calls on You." If you know this info, it will help protect you and your friends from fucked up police tactics. It's not a time to be paranoid, but its a really important time to realize that dissent is under attack and to be prepared.
So I've drafted up a little letter and I'm putting an excerpt here for anyone who might find it useful. I feel like i have conversations all the time with people who are hating discussing trans stuff with their families because of the fucked up rigid associations people have with the terms we're trying to re-write--so here is one of my attempts. Maybe someday I'll put all the letters I've written on this site and hopefully it will save you a painful paragraph of writing or two.
welcome to my trans family nightmare. So my sister is going back home to VA for work this weekend, and stopping in to say hello to the family, so we had a little conversation about how to tread around the gender issues. So far, they know I’ve had surgery, and they know I go by dean, and I wrote them this letter once trying to make some gender concepts understandable from a southern christian country perspective. I said stuff about how people occupy all kinds of genders, and there are all different types of combinations of masculinity and femininity, and I gave a lot of examples and I explained that I’m not what they probably think of when they think of the word “transsexual” because I don’t think I’m trapped in the wrong body, etc. I explained that everyone does things to make themselves more comfortable in the gendered characteristics of their body, like shave, lift weights, diet, get plastic surgery, etc, and that my surgery made me feel better in my body and made me happy and not to worry. After that, things seemed kinda okay and we went back to talking about the weather and the babies.
But, with my sister’s trip approaching, she and I were having a strategy session about what she should call me and stuff, and somehow we misunderstood each other and she thought that I had said that they knew I go by ‘he’ which they don’t. So when my foster mother called her last night, and she used ‘he,’ it exploded into a nightmarish 2 hour conversation that involved my foster mother screaming things like “you have to be a man or a woman” and “oh my god, next she’s gonna have a sex change” (by which I guess she means phalloplasty?) and “you’d support anything she’d do even if she wanted to cut her arm off.” My foster mother also proceeded to examine my life history and explain that I have always been terribly unhappy and confused—this is why I had to go through school so fast, etc. Ugh. The transsexuality narrative takes over. Yesterday I was the happiest and most on-track kid ever, today I’m a pathologized confused miserable “he.”
So, clearly, I’m freaking out. What a fucking double bind. I don’t like not being fully disclosed to them, being called ‘aunt’ by my nephew, etc. But there is no fucking way to ever get understanding on what I’m actually doing. How to “come out” without “going in”—in to the hideous untrue meanings of “transsexuality” that are eagerly awaiting me at every turn. That narrative simply isn’t true for me, and more than that I refuse to participate in a gender upholding rigidifying understanding of my trans experience. For this reason, I’ve avoided telling them about my pronoun for all this time, hoping that I could occupy some confusing space between their homophobic understanding of “lesbian” and their clueless understanding of “transsexual” (MTF of course) and that that place would be somewhat closer to the freaky threatening truth that is my gender. But now, with this kind of burden to explain being placed on my poor wonderful sister, I have step in with some kind of information management.
I’m just so fucking tired. All I ever do is explain myself. I love trans organizing stuff, but I’m sick of writing and doing interviews and always have to turn questions on their head and always having to uproot the understandings of transsexuality that people rely on and approach me with that are so far from what I’m doing. And now to do that with these folks who live in such a totally different world from me, with whom I have this weird not-blood semi-kinda-parenty inadequate-but-important-to-me-cause-its-all-I-have relationship—it just seems too much. I’m sick of writing letters. I’m sick of opening up my body and my experience to every fucking person who wants to become transfriendly, and to every cop, and to every fag in a club who won’t call me he, and to every dyke who wants to know ‘why did cut you breasts off, don’t you like breasts,’ and to every lawyer who wants to make fucked up medical arguments for trans clients in court, etc. Boots reminded me recently that not having to explain yourself is a privilege few people have, and that is good to remember. But I’m still just feeling cranky and lazy and tired and wishing I could just vacation, rather than try to construct another gentle disruptive nontraditional coming out moment with love and care that I’m not receiving back from those who ask these questions of me.
Its funny that I always post shit here when I’m having the transpain moment. I think that what sucks so much and gets under my skin so bad about this is being told that I’m unhappy, that I’m imbalanced. For fuck’s sake, I’m the one who is living the life I chose, I’m the one who is inventing and taking what I want—and to be painted by people who are living in the most gender constricted ways as the unhappy unfortunate one, it sucks. Its like when people who want to fuck me approach me as if I hate my body—that is not what being trans is about! It’s the opposite of that. Its so squelching to have that trip put on you.
I’ll post whatever I write here, in hopes that the next genderqueer freak can just cut and paste. We should start a database really, there would be categories like “southern christian foster parents” “blood family” “with college education” “without college education” “liberal parents” “anti-trans ‘feminist’ family member” etc.