Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Creative Production

Originally I intended for a large amount of this blog to be about my personal transition. I had intentions of writing about my transition process through detailing trips to my therapist and my various coming-out stories. However, I find that the majority of that process was completed a very long time ago, and that anything else is a part of who I am as opposed to a "phase" or "journey". So I have to ask myself why I started this blog then if the things I have to say about the inner-most parts of me are already part of my every-day life.

There is a trend of creative production while transitioning. People create photo albums, blogs, novels, and books of poetry to catalogue the movement of their bodies, or traditionally, the bodies of others. Often, though, these movements seem to start at Point A and go to Point B...and then the movement ends. These narratives present a time-line which ends when one becomes content and fulfilled with the alignment of physical and mental body identity. I know there are many people who find that these narratives represent how they experience their bodies and their transition, and I think that these narratives touch a lot of people. However there are many transgender and genderqueer folk left out of these narratives as, of course, there are people left out of every narrative. I no longer intend for this blog to cover any singular aspect of transitioning or of my personal experience with being transgender. I don't want my writing to agree with the DSM-IV that my cosmetic surgery will cure me of my gender identity disorder. I will still experience dysphoria when dinner checks are handed to me and not my partner, when I am assumed to be the aggressor in our relationship, when gay men can't understand how I could be gay, male and in a relationship with a genderqueer woman. This gender dysphoria will be a part of me as long as sexism, transphobia, effemimania, and heteronormativity still exist. I want this dysphoria, to not experiment it would be to accept what I see and experience.

I had asked my partner, who is a photographer, to document my chest surgery for me but now I am uncertain about that choice. I don't want to present a story that ends when the body I inhabit looks like the body I believe I inhabit. Being transgender is something that will continue until the day I die, and I suppose this blog will document that experience until I become bored or unable to write. It took me a very long time to align my past with my present because the narratives that reflected my experiences were so hidden. Not until I read Disclosure by Daniel Ray Soltis in the anthology From the Inside Out (scroll, it's about halfway down the page) did I see my thoughts reflected in the life of another transman. Soltis writes about the conflict between being a man today and having gone to Bryn Mawr,which is an all-women's college, in his past. My experience of feeling female when I was young and feeling male now is reflected in Soltis's decision to keep his alma-mater on his resumes.

It is now possible for me to tell my therapist that I am not transsexual but rather a transman, that I do not want to become or be seen as 100% male. I know and love many transsexual people and I find their identity and their lives to be beautiful. I understand their misgivings about genderqueer and transgender activism, that our identites are now forefronted in queer activism as being "the most radical" and therefore the most deserving. This increasingly popular idea is repulsive, for we are all deserving of respect and love, and for me that includes my female past. I would not change my girlhood days for anything nor would I pretend they did not happen. I was blessed to feel at-home in my body as a young girl and I am glad that I was raised as a woman, imagine what a lower middle-class white Midwestern boy could grow into! I think about what I could have become if I had experienced male privilege my whole life, and I am thankful to have been given a woman's upbringing.

1 comment:

Morgan said...

"In my analysis, gender is not to be understood as a discrete category unto itself, but one of several interacting factors, such as race, class, color, age, and sexual orientation, that together make up individual identities, as well as the social terrain upon which we experience our realities." - Tracye Matthews, "No Once Ever Asks, What a Man's Place in the Revolution Is": Gender and the Politics of The Black Panther Party 1966-1971

I love this quote - I pulled it out for myself and in reading your entry I thought you would appreciate it too. I'm glad that you're not trying to limit yourself.