Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A New Hope

Kinda. Sorta.

I will note in passing that I realize I've neglected this space for far too long. Not to make excuses but having been unemployed for so long, I found it difficult to time-manage once I actually found a job and that fueled my already chronic tendency to procrastination. Combine that with several other writing activities going on, and my disappointment at the level of traffic here, and this has fallen by the wayside some.

However, I've resolved again to try to raise the visibility and effectiveness of this blog due to a recent motivating event. Which is the story I will tell, briefly, tonight.

Admittedly, nothing may come of this opportunity, but even if it does not, it has provided some motivation to me to step up my game and that by itself makes it a worthwhile experience. Before I get into this story though, let me take a moment to give you a little "behind the scenes" insight into my thinking on this and related subjects. Like all trans people, to one degree or another, I live out a small tension between the desire to "go stealth" and try as much as possible to blend into the population as "just another woman" and the contrary motivation to take a stand to try and educate the public to the nature of this condition and the issues we face, in hopes of perhaps increasing acceptance for people like me.

That's not to say that I'm under any illusion that most of the people who regularly interact with me don't know my unfortunate history. I would have loved to have gone to work at my current job and not had anyone outside the necessary members of management know about my "birth defect." The experience I most crave in life is to be regularly, 24/7, reacted to and interacted with EXACTLY as one would any woman born with a proper vagina. Not that I don't appreciate the great amount of kindness and respect I've been shown at work (and elsewhere), I DO! But there's still that lingering self-doubt in the back of my mind whether I'm really seen as "one of the girls." Particularly since I still find myself obeying the restriction on using the public restroom lest I make enemies (another day for ruminations on that subject).

Every night, though, it crosses my mind to wonder how people see me and that strikes me as an unnatural feeling which I would wish to not feel,all other things being equal. I dream about the day, which may never come, when there is no situation  I can't enter into in which anyone would even take seriously the idea that I'd ever lived as a male, let alone suspect it.

But all other things are not equal.

Laying aside the perhaps unrealistic nature of that dream (short of hitting the Powerball!) there's the reality that I can't forget: I got into this position (late-life complicated transition) for the specific reason that I was blindingly ignorant of the reality of my circumstance, and I lived in a world of ignorance about trans people which only worked to shame me into repression. If people like me, in this generation, remain silent, then how will things be better for those who follow in my footsteps? What psychological pain will some person unknown to me suffer because I did not speak up about what I know to be true? Is it so high a price for me to pay to at least spend some part of my remaining years trying to "change the world" just a little bit?  Ultimately, I find that no matter what I might covet for my own experience, I can't still my tongue.

Which leads to my recent experience.

It came to my attention that the state talk-radio network's morning show host was having a guest from Liberty Council. in the promotional letter for the day's programing said guest, speaking in opposition to ENDA, made an unfortunately rather snide anti-trans comment. so for some reason I decided to write an e-mail to the shows host, a good man from all I can tell but definitely a traditional conservative, and suggest that the guest had given the wrong impression and was doing a disservice not only to the people he insulted but to the conservative movement. I included a simple logical thesis that I often share in the hope that it will give anti-trans folks a pause to reflect on the correctness of their views. I assumed nothing more would come of it. Imagine my surprise, then, when the host wrote me back and ask me to consider appearing on his show to better inform the public.

I was blown away. it was in those moments when I reflected upon this unexpected (potential) opportunity that I realized I had more interest in speaking up, than in blending in. At least for now. perhaps some years and many thousands of dollars from now when there are fewer physical incongruities to give me away, I might feel I've paid my dues and i can slip into anonymity. Or maybe not. but for now, I find I enjoy the opportunity to challenge the traditions which lead to anti-trans attitudes in the culture.

Hopefully I get the chance to accept the man's invitation, but whether I do or not it has given me some insight into my priorities. A couple of days later while sharing my excitement with a friend of mine, it occurred to me (in reaction to something she said) that if I am indeed going to seize these opportunities, it makes sense to be able to direct inquiring minds to a source of further information...say, for instance, a blog? That means I have to be more responsible to keep this page active and engaging and a source of quality information so that I can refer people here for some reason beyond stroking my own ego.

I have some other things in mind that I want to do to try to open doors and hearts and minds, but for now, the foundation must be laid. I'll try to prioritize a bit better in the coming year.