Pride 2017

I’ve managed once again to fall through just about every crack in something I want to be a part of.

Not only am I transgender, I’m also older, an alt guy, and gay. I feel like I absolutely don’t fit in anywhere.

For the longest time, especially pre-transition, I searched from place to place thinking I’d belong somewhere–in different cities, at different schools, in different relationships. And it sucks, because not only did I not fit in anywhere, and sometimes get ruthlessly rejected, but the baggage of all that instability hangs off my neck now and makes it hard to be taken seriously as an adult.

Now that I know the score with myself, I feel like I’ve spent the past six months in a dual headspace–staring like a deer in headlights at the very real prospect of never finding an emotional home, and simultaneously learning that I really like myself and always have, and that I only want to become more like myself as time goes on.

And a kind of dumbass faith that eventually someone will see what I am and like it, if I can only keep steady.

Pride this month was a jungle of bad feelings. It hurt like a bitch to be confronted with what feels like an especially passive-aggressive gay cis male energy this year (reacting against the new administration?), but also being told over and over how nice it must be to live in such a permissive and accepting city.

No it isn’t.

There’s a certain way you’ve got to be gay or queer here, and I’m just not part of it. And there’s a humongous difference between permissiveness and progressiveness.

I skipped every last Pride event in New Orleans this year, because I didn’t feel like getting the knife of the last 8 months of social isolation twisted by a bunch of people who would just look at me and see a fucking out-of-place woman anyway.

Not only that, but the organizer of the Pride parade threw political queer protest under the bus in the newspaper, in such disingenuous language that Frank Luntz would have been proud. I think the cis gay community needs to take an honest look in the mirror about how far they’ve fallen from real social justice, and eradicate the proto-fascism before they dominate any more Pride parades.

So yeah. I’m pretty pissed off. Maybe I’m just in the wrong place, and I need to be in a city where there’s more opportunity for both support and genuine activism.

I could have done with some actual Pride this year, though. It hurts especially bad because Pride last year felt particularly inclusive and loving.

Transgender Day of Visibility

Some trans people get uptight about transgender visibility.

On one hand, I can see where they’re coming from. They might be closeted or stealth, and worried that increased visibility might out them. Or they might be struggling to put a traumatic past or painful transition behind them, and not appreciate the reminders of what they went through.

I try to be sympathetic towards that, though I feel like it’s a short-sighted position to adopt.

On the other hand, I think it’s more important to fight bigotry and familiarize allies with how to help us, than engage in a fruitless and frankly pretty hurtful campaign to force out trans people back into the closet. What might seem like the best idea in the short run, is actually playing right into bigots’ hands. The info is out there on how to spot us. It’s done. Now it’s time to protect ourselves and each other by normalizing what we are, not by re-hiding it.

I also can’t help but think, somewhat selfishly, of what I would have done without the examples of out trans guys. Perhaps not survived.

If you’re out there, whether you want to be seen or not — I care for you. Do your best, beautiful. We’ll get there together.

Coliseum Park

…you just want to see the mess, you said.

was it as bad as you hoped?

I recognize it, recognize the porn. I recognize the player I’m supposed to be in the scene you’re mindless reenacting.

The pity I feel for us both scatters my heart in a million sharp tear-shards, even as you grab my hair again and I like it even better this time.

this is less sex than excavation. other nights I went alone to Coliseum Park, water dripping off darkened leaves, that’s when it fucked me real. running my hand over the crape myrtle bark and closing my fingers around a memory of roughness. i know what i am. staring up at black powerlines crisscrossing luscious violet night, feeling it stare back down, current and waiting.

orange streetlights sought and hid, and I walked through air like water. outlined in enormity, the oaks, black and active, twisted in their wet stew of mast.

and there, off-center and shy, circled-around, forgotten–shrine.
she said through his lips: there is only one purpose in life, to be a fountain of light.

we know, or think we do, what it means to feel alive. I think I knew, or thought I did. one brief zap of the body, bringing the mind down to dance with it helplessly in my chest, before it raised like a dazed balloon back into the viewing-dome of my skull.

girl, you pounded later. girl. girl. girl girl girl. girlgirlgirlgirl, stacking like witch-crushing stones, methodical,

age-old mantra against creatures of dark dirt mind. song of not this, never this, please, I’ve got this. look at me gotcha. vain hope for a new skin, empty and ready for wearing.

you this, you said, you that. yeah.

I’ve got bad news, bi boy. you fucked me like a man.

you reached a different vein than you sought, not that you thought. how do I know? my bones rang, that old song. rusty, unearthed so quickly, humming to life like the flat gray sleep-deprived dawn. that old song, the one you fear, the one you thought silencing me would silence.

lay a girl suit down, down to where she doesn’t want up, and no guy will ever dance you? sure that’s the right spell? i’m not.

silent, neither.

you spit that poison thrice, and it coated my inside, just enough to show me the shape I’m now.

but settling in as of old again, to digest and die–that I can no longer lie. girl? my darling. I’m grinning with the excess, and it’s slipping from my tongue to pool on the ground outside. in these rainbow gutter puddles, your jealous strides away to nothing.

I Am Non-Binary

I’ve always been some sort of queer, and known it since at least high school. I’d assumed it was a sexual orientation thing, but while I knew I liked guys, I was never all that into girls. So what could it be?

I’ve been thinking about this since right after the Pulse shooting. And I think it’s time to finally say it out loud. It’s a gender thing.

Nonbinary to me has a couple of aspects. One is that it describes my overall life. I am at least bigender (male & female, and possibly something else), as well as genderfluid. Over the course of my life, there have been times I was almost as comfortable in feminine identity as a cis girl would be, though never quite all the way.

But there was also another part of me, that only got expression as a “masculine girl”, which wasn’t super satisfying. It was a male aspect of me. In the era of my childhood and teens, there was no concept of nonbinary or genderfluid. So I had to content myself with going between feminine, and masculine-girl, states.

And in the South, the latter invited a lot of bullying and ostracization, especially since when I was in that state, I wasn’t a tomboy–I was actually a manly “girl”.

The states lasted a few years each, more or less. As my twenties wore into my thirties, “manly girl” was less an accepted possibility for me to express. The demands put on adult women were forcing me further and further into feminization, and female aging took away some of the chance to be comfortably boyish, without the potential to be masculine replacing it. So that sucked, and started to hurt.

I went into this extended period of dysphoria and trying really hard to feminine myself and be an adult woman. But all it did was just burn my female aspect out once and for all. There were a few years I felt basically genderless, depressed, agoraphobic about even leaving the house. Only moving to New Orleans has really helped me emerge from that.

Now I’ve learned about nonbinary genders. And it has explained my whole life. It’s not really like having multiple me’s or anything. It’s more akin to being polyamorous, or having more than one career at a time, or being ambidextrous. I wish I’d known about it in time to kind of “save” the girl part of me from being burned out. And if she comes back, that’s ok. But what I have now is the identity that was always also in there, the man.

And he’s waited a long time to even exist in the world, so I’m really excited to be transitioning this year.

It makes me grateful to think I love in a time and place where this sort of exploration and admittance is finally gaining visibility and legitimacy.

Some people don’t understand it, or think it can’t exist, or think it’s wrong, and try to get you to limit yourself to one. That’s what happened to me, though the guy side always eventually found an outlet. I just hated how, when he did, it was always misunderstood or mocked. Never seen correctly, because it was coming from a “girl’s” body and face. I hope that when I can pass as a man, that aspect of me will finally be seen and appreciated.

So nonbinary is in part, the overall story. And in part, too, it’s what kind of man I am. I didn’t want to be a masculine girl. I want to be a feminine man. So the man I’m going to be will have this feminine streak, and be queer, etc. Not a guy trying to be a girl, but a male-emphasized balance of male and female traits, traditionally speaking.

When They Come

I’m meant to be dashing around odd corners in my rain boots, camera and notebook and pen in hand, ready to catch life by the tail and ride it.

It takes you to a dying man who glows blue, and you help him pass, and he says “Damn!” when your power explodes forth, and the sky shatters and falls with your scream.

I went deep and heard the howl of the everlost, and underneath, the chiming cries of the planet it’s raping. What do you do? Call the authorities? There are none–gone over or in hiding. You become the authority in those situations. The authority to look the world in the eye and say yes, this is better than that.

Say yes and no from the bones of your soul, and build the bridges you need from the sawn-up timber of the life you thought you wanted. Do it. Do it now. The hour’s late and there’s damage to repair.

Rise and walk with the gods, in kindness, creativity, gratitude and generosity. And above all, Truth, on which this authority is founded and rests.