Subject: why am(was) I here?
Date: Thu 26 Aug 1999 - 10:34:40 BST
Why was I on Trans-Theory?
1) To get valuable and insightful feedback on my own ideas, to help clarify
and sharpen them.
2) To engage in discussions with other theorists that help us find common
3) To publish my own ideas and work so that an audience can find benefit in
At this point, I don't believe I am accomplishing any of these goals. I have
found that people rarely engage ideas, rather they repeat their own
assertions. This means I don't get much insight more than understanding the
positions of others, which quickly become clear. And as a publishing medium,
this list surely is not the mort effective place, as even though there are
around 100 subscribers, as an audience their interests remain undefined.
Why do Trannys focus on the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival? Is it because
any tranny really needs to be there? There are other festivals that are
trans-inclusive, and if you are stealth/passable enough to ID as a woman, and
not see yourself as a transsexual, you can go there no problem.
The reason for the focus is simple: if there is no rock, there is nothing
that lets us direct our energies. We need conflict to create change, and
conflict demands having something opposed to us, so that the issues can be
aired, discussed, illuminated. If the differences are not highlighted, the
underlying assumptions not exposed, then they can never be addressed.
Without conflict, we don't even know what we think. Until we are forced to
examine our own beliefs and come up with a position to support, those beliefs
remain nebulous and vague. We act out of unconsidered ideology rather than
It is wrestling with the challenges of conflict that enlightens us. Finite
humanity means we have to make hard decisions. Joseph Campbell said that the
most enlightening ritual he ever went though in his life was one where he was
to find five tokens and assign to them what he valued most in his life. He
then went though a course where gatekeepers demanded he surrender his tokens,
surrender what he valued. Some people cheated, picking up pebbles to
surrender, so they didn't have to face the hard choices.
The spirit is infinite and eternal. The flesh is finite and ephemeral. The
soul delights in being both spirit and flesh, knowing the infinite by
experiencing the finite. We live in conflict to find what we truly hold as
essential, peeling away the routine and expectations to find the center, the
The power of theory, for me, is the power of that exploration into the mind.
We enter the crucible, open ourselves up to conflict, and the fire burns away
weak thought and old assumptions.
I know, though, that there is more than just the exploration of the mind. I
also need to put my body, my emotions and my soul into conflict. I need to
perform the beliefs, not just hold them, even though that enters me into
other sorts of conflict in areas less well exercised than my mind.
It's hard to move into those areas, though, if I stay in conflict. As the
old saw goes "When you are up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to
remember the mission was to drain the swamp." When we get too aware of
conflict, feel that we are being attacked from all sides and that we have to
defend our position at all costs. Conflict becomes an end it itself.
One thing I like about "early-transitioning" people is that they are still
kids enough to know that fighting with them is often a sign of love. They
understand that if their parents won't fight with them, they won't fight for
them -- and often that's the same thing. "Late-transitoners" are often so
habituated to the fight that they see it as a fight, rather than a process of
Why is anyone on trans-theory? Do they want the audience, or to just act out
old patterns of defense? Or is it really a place where they can explore what
they hold to be true and have those beliefs tested in conflict, where they
Many of us ran though the battleground of transgender as fast as we could,
not tarrying to explore it, because we knew how dangerous it felt. We got to
the other side and built good lives, powerful lives, graceful lives, lives to
be admired. Yet, we know that part of us is forever on the other side, that
we stretch between, and we need to go back and look at our life, reflect on
it. That's a tough process, because it means unrearthing the pain and rage
we had being stranded in no-man's/no-woman's land, at how we felt erased,
abused and destroyed as children.
Maybe there is a need for a place for ex-transsexuals to come back and
explore the choices they made to get what they needed, to re-examine how
those beliefs were either rooted in sound thinking or rooted in pragmatic
rationalization of deeper needs. They can learn the new language of
transgender, explore the modes of living between, where sex and gender aren't
hard linked. They can try them on, walk around in them, and find which words
and ideas fit them and which don't.
But that's not where I need to be right now. In the long run, at least for
me, transgender isn't the meat, its just the flavor, and I need to move past
exploring the sizzle and help people find steak.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2a23 : Thu 02 Sep 1999 - 02:40:40 BST