Subject: Re: Current topic
Date: Sat 30 Jan 1999 - 14:00:02 GMT
In a message dated 1/29/99 03:30:22 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> I may be out in left field here, but at this point in my life
> I mostly view "transgender" as a process:
> a developmental process,
> a sociological process,
> a philosophical process,
> even a political process...
> personal evolution in action.
At this point in my life, I view life as a process.
For me, I am interested in the factors that shape that life, and I am aware
that my understanding of what gender is and therefore what transgender is, and
more than that, the social understanding of those two concepts, shape the
process that is my life enormously.
I wrote about this a few weeks ago in "A post-transgender life," where I spoke
of the challenges of process of moving out of a stage where one is pinned down
by transgender in a world that has trouble seeing past transgender.
My secret vice is simple: I love marketing. I have little use for theory as
an abstract discussion in itself, but rather am fascinated with theory as a
basis for changing public perceptions, for creating common ideas and language.
I like to look at the negative images and see where the truths lie in them
(because every image contains at least a seed of truth) and then work to put
those truths in a new language that recontextualizes them, allowing them to be
Anyone in marketing has to be fascinated with the process of understanding, of
growth and change. It's one reason I cry when I read books by Tom Peters -- I
love the humanity that shows when people are empowered and can more easily
give their gifts to the world. I am a process junkie, usually the one to
argue for organic solutions when other people argue for imposed ones -- but I
suspect that doesn't surprise anyone.
> While it might be interesting to know why the sky is blue
> and how one conveys to others the shade of blue that they see,
> I'd like to talk about the way in which the interpretation of
> the color of the sky changes over time,
> from blue to azure and so forth.
I was chatting with Jake Hale about Riki Anne Wilchins (RAW). I have a 1994
draft of "Read My Lips" (RML) and in it, Riki talks about her theory of
"Childhood Chromosonal-Sex Disorder" (CCD).
"CCD - short for Childhood Chromosomal-Sex Disorder or (transsexuality); a
congenital genetic disorder in which physical sex and gender are in
I noted that this wasn't mentioned in the Firebrand edition of RML, and Jake
said he thought it was OK for RAW to change her mind.
I agree. I just think that RAWs changes are fascinating. I have watched her
go from this thought, in the days when she and Davina Anne Gabriel were best
buddies, to the being banned from TransSisters to Transsexual Menace to
GenderPac, a process of growth. The whole "just a straight white guy with a
pussy who likes other chicks like me" sig days were so fascinating, because to
me, they seemed to be swinging the pendulum away from the CCD days, into
claiming queerness, and then GenderPac is a maturing of that urge.
Don't get me wrong. I really like RAW. When she & Kate & I had lunch in DC,
it was definitely a gathering of sisters, full of drama. "To write, just sit
at a keyboard and open your wrists." The blood flowed. All three of us are
committed to change, and it is, to me, anyway, that change which makes us
"Failure or success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars.
But they retain the power of wriggling,
of fighting with their star or against it,
and in the whole universe
the only really interesting movement is this wriggle."
E. M. Forster
In fact, I have written on this list that I believe that we need to
acknowledge and embrace the truth that we have changed, not to try to justify
our actions and say "we were really always this way" in order to form a human
bond. It is by seeing how we change that other people follow our human
journey, the process that ties us all together.
> I can't speak for anyone else here,
> but my conception of who I am has not been constant.
> Given the past migration of my self-image,
> I doubt that I'll be in the stage of self-understanding I am at now
> for a whole lot longer.
> Okay...so...is there a pattern?
> What quagmires do we get stuck in before moving on to another level
> (if even level or stage are the right words).
I have become enamoured of the bedspring model of change. We are all like
bedsprings in a frame, connected at various points to other springs which form
a structure. When we are deformed, pushed out of place, changed, we are
pulled back into position by those we are connected to -- that is their job.
For permanent change to occur, we have to reshape our connections, to either
change how we are tied into the system (revolution) or change the entities
that have kept us in shape (evolution).
It is the fighting to change not just ourselves, but the connections we have
with others, how we are tied into the web of humanity that make change most
difficult. We are forced to exaggerate or abstract our positions in order to
connect, to appear constant and stable when we are really dynamic and
changing. If we do not appear tough, we will be pulled back into position a
position we wanted to escape.
This being forced to harden when we are really fluid seems to limit us. We
end up posturing and acting fixed when we really are searching and changing.
It's my hope that we can build some value in the world for shapeshifters,
metamorphs, transformers, that these people can be accepted for what they
present, rather than being erased because what they present doesn't fit neatly
into the social order.
We change, we flow. We live in a world where change is not valued, where
process has not been honored, so we end up packaging ourselves up like
product, but that very packaging removes the most valuable bits. That's the
quagmire I wrestle with, anyway.
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