Only vaguely coherent thoughts on being Transgender

(Image by Sam Moss)

The one that always gets me is “it”.  He or she—whatever—at least you’re still granting personhood.  “It” is like—look at this “thing”.

I dunno.  I think that’s the main battle as much as anything.  The notion that trans people are y’know…actually people is still a bit of a hurdle for some.  We need jobs, roofs, and love like everybody else.  We watch stupid TV, bad movies, and idiot music too.

I mean, this is a familiar pattern in all discrimination—once you get people to accept you as people, then a lot of the violence and abuse tempers down.  I think as a community, we’re still needing a Will and Grace moment where people who have no contact in their lives with transgender people—can be like, “y’know, they’re just people too”.

To bring it back to comics—that’s why stuff like Gail Simone putting a transgender character in batgirl is important.  We’re not hugely represented in the popculture—except in a freakshow talkshow kind of way.

(Also: our stories haven’t really been told in genre fiction yet—there’s so much in new story possibilities you can get into once you move off the straight cisgender white male narrative—especially in comics—there are soooo many even just fundamental stories out there waiting to be told.  So I don’t know why this kind of thing doesn’t happen a bunch—because the story possibilities are much more rich.  I want to read the story though where yes the character is transgender—but the story isn’t ABOUT them being transgender overtly.  Just like…they’re a character in the story, and it keeps moving.  Their experience is different as a character—but it shouldn’t be something that the story has to screech to a halt to tell)

That said, I’ve been very fortunate in my life—especially considering most of my life I’ve worked with the public in customer service type roles—to not be subjected to anything super super horrible.  There were some scary moments when I was working alone at night in hotels.  But for the most part—if people even notice, I think that I play it so chill and blase that it sort of undercuts whatever.

Also I use the term transgender.  But as with most things in queer culture—there’s a billion different labels, people are militant about all of them, and there’s all kinds of weird arguments about which is which.  I like transgender and queer because they are the two most umbrella terms—and I don’t really like being super specific about that kind of thing, because it’s complicated to explain in a way that makes sense to you if you’re not somewhat fluent in whatever.  I think my basic take on labels is that they should only be self-applied.  You can’t tell someone they are this or they are that and have it mean anything.  If you tell someone that they are a boy—but they identify as a girl—regardless of how supposedly accurate you believe your assessment to be—it’s pointless.  You can’t have a conversation with someone when the basis of your interaction isn’t even taking place within a shared reality.  You have no way of understanding even the simplest of things this person is going to tell you.  So let people tell you about themselves—don’t tell them about who they are—and I think things will be kosher.  I’m really rambling.

Anyways.  I like the image.  I like the colors.  And I think the softness of the image works with the message because it is less sort of abrasive visually—so you sort of have warm feelings going into the message—which is effective.


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