Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thinking

I've been thinking lately.  That can be good, and bad.

I drove 1,400 miles over last weekend.  Part of it was to escape the cold.  It's freezing here, as in single digit nighttime temperatures.  The temperature when I woke up Monday was 1 degree.  One friggin' degree.  That's crazy.  Driving 1,400 miles for such a short stint away from it is crazy, too, but road trips like that give me time to think.  That can be a dangerous thing, depending on what I'm thinking about...

I've got a busy couple of weeks ahead.  I spoke to a group at a local high school yesterday.  Speaking to kids is different than speaking with other groups.  The questions are unique and insightful.  Anyway - thanks to the group for such a warm welcome.

I spoke with someone at a company where one of the managers will be transitioning shortly.  That was a worthwhile discussion as well.

I spent a good part of today getting ready for our board meeting this evening.

My days are all different and fairly interesting lately.   A friend texted me yesterday and asked if I was "enjoying" myself.  The answer is: sometimes.  Lots to do, and I generally feel a step behind no matter what I'm doing.

If I think I'm not liking the cold now just wait until next week when I'll be in Minneapolis.  The last time I was there was for a Super Bowl and it was downright bone-chilling cold.  I'll be headed there to attend Creating Change and to be honest I expect that the only time I'll leave the hotel will be to get to and from the airport.  Brrrrr.

I've watched the "debate" between some who identify as "transsexual" and others that they define as transgender and find it to be both unfortunate and embarrassing.  My own personal stance on the topic hasn't changed - nobody is any more worthy, better, healthy, moral, valid or entitled than anyone else.  To turn the discussion into a wedge issue, or a platform for personal validation at the expense of others that they identify as "different" exposes just how deep that various phobias that plague many of us run.  I, personally, accept that any number of labels may apply to me and I have no problem with accepting transgender and transsexual among them.  To believe otherwise is to accept that either or both are pejorative or insulting and I do not.

I've said time and again and I re-iterate that I am not, will never be, nor do I want to be just like any other woman.  I've had a unique journey that has absolutely affected how I perceive myself, my gender, my personhood, my character, and my spiritual nature.  Different is not a synonym for bad for bad in any of us.  The fact that any of our paths was different, however, does not invalidate it or diminish it.  Indeed - I'd argue that the things we work hardest to achieve are the things we appreciate most.  That's true of my womanhood.

I refuse to acknowledge any form of caste system within the gender "gifted" spectrum which chooses to validate some while invalidating others.  I refuse to accept or adopt some artificial hierarchy of legitimacy  based on narrow views, stereotypes, or imposed labels that do not recognize the fluid nature of our existence.  And although I'll sit and watch people engage in a pissing match I myself refuse to participate.  These are my beliefs.  I feel no need to argue or defend them other than what I've stated here.  My perspective has been consistent for many years and, if anything, I've become more comfortable in them.

I posted an Opinion on my website back in 2005 titled The Ugly Activist and it's as valid today as it was back then, which is a pity.

Others may or may not agree and I'll respect that.  It's when these arguments, which are nothing new, become so public and angry that it makes everybody look like a bunch of loonies so it's a wonder that we have a hard time being taken seriously.  Where is the respect for people's right to be or believe who they are?  Who is worthy of judging but refusing to be judged?  What kind of a legacy is this leaving for kids who don't buy into the same kind of structured, label-defining binary of validation that seems to fuel this trash-talk?  And how is this in any way constructive other than to provide a platform for one-trick ponies to spout off empty Sarah Palin like sound-bites over and over and over?

My blog has long been a place for me to share my life, my opinions, my thoughts, and news that I think is relevant.  This topic is one I've discussed here before, and I'll reiterate that I know and respect others who feel differently.  As with so many things it's not necessarily what you say so much as how you say it.  However, if you're a jerk you're a jerk whether you're some flavor of trans or not.  Just because you and I share this one particular trait doesn't make us friends.  And I will ALWAYS stand with the broader community of people with unique gender expressions and identities rather than to validate my own realities at the expense of others.

Anyway - that's my rant for the day.  Now - time to get to work.

11 comments:

Diana said...

I hope you have a great time in Minneapolis, Donna. I live there and am rather fond of the place. Don't let the cold dissuade you from getting out a little. There's more to see than the Hilton. :-)

Dawn1257 said...

Bringing this community together through Activism/Advocacy is paramount in achieving legitimacy in a perceived 'normative' society. The method of such which is utilized will either bring to fruition finally, a better standing in equality and respect or, drive an even deeper wedge between not only ourselves, but that same 'normative' society. What a shame it would be to lose all the gains made the these last very few years.

Yes, we can disagree within our ranks as you've suggested, Donna. I feel that to be healthy for any group, community or, society. And I fully agree that it needs to happen, yet it needs to happen with a measure of decorum and respect for all. Again, I think as you've suggested. To do otherwise will drive useful thoughts and ideas of some, away. At the risk of being thought of as 'elite'(which of course I do not feel I am), this nearly happened in my own life.

I do not consider myself contentious. I have been working with as much time as I can afford in the area of Activism/Advocacy for the Trans community. Yet, as you've provided example, I have felt that my own ideals and perceptions have no place to be tolerated within this community. As such, I cannot beat my own head much more and still maintain a will to help.

I have disagreement with some within our community, obviously. I have ideas about how we can make our identities valid to that 'normative' society I mentioned. I don't really want to leave the possibilities behind. Somehow we need to find a way to come together over our differences. There is far greater power in our ranks should we do so.

As some in the political realms like to espouse their thoughts that what needs to be thought of first is our "children's future"; maybe we should consider how our own actions and methods might affect, adversely or not those of us not yet realized. Our own "children". Our future. Because surely as the Sun rises, they will be here.

As I and so many others who have come before have been made to realize when we first were figuring ourselves out, "there is no, one, right way to do this". We as a community need to step back, look, listen and understand that allowing for and having tolerance for alternative views (even the not so "progressive" views) is a healthy and wise thing to do.

sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Donna While I respect your right to have your own opinion, I also have mine and must disagree with you on this point. I feel very strongly that it is those self diagnosis, cross dressing, Internet hormone pill popping, over made-up, non op wannabes who give the "True Transsexual" a bad name They by their actions and their continue to latching onto a diagnosis (GID) that doesn't cover them. They have confused the general public into believing that Transsexual who suffer from GID and Transgender are one and the same..... their NOT. The vast majority of people who truly have or had GID only want to transition and blend back into society. They don't live off or use a trans Identity as their claim to fame as so many do and I'm not talking about activism I'm talking about those who seek fame and fortune simple because they have or had a Trans Identity.

The True Transsexual doesn't make a spectacle of themselves in public or seek undue attention. as we see and read about from those in the transgender community far to often. People who do these things are insecure individuals in need of counseling and are acting out to get attention from anyone they can get it from Their very crossdressing itself could be linked to their desire for attention. I feel that those in the Transgender community have latched onto a diagnosis of GID to vilify how they live in in an effort to force society into accepting a third gender as normal which I don't feel it is. It is plainly obvious that one can't be gender Dysphoric and feel their in the wrong body and not want GRS. In our society there are two genders not three and no amount of protesting is going to change that. In our society genitalia are a requirement sexual marker for truly be the opposite sex and that's not likely to change either.

I don't think Transsexuals will ever gain credibility or equality in society until they leave behind those that use a condition that doesn't cover them to vilify their fetish. They for the most part the Trans community can't even get the mainstream LGB community to sign on and support the fight for equal rights, so how do you think they'll ever get the general public to start supporting equality....answer they won't.

Donna said...

Hey Brandi: You and I have had this discussion in the past and the best we can do is agree to disagree. I do not believe in the concept of "True Transsexual" and even if I did I wouldn't advocate that those who don't or won't identify with that label are less worthy of anything. I will use my voice to advocate for respect of people's right to be whoever and whatever they want regardless of surgery status or simplistic micro-definitions every chance I get, just as I always have. I respect your right to disagree with that, just as I always have.

Anonymous said...

Donna, I will have to agree with Brandi. I really don't think there are any "true" whatevers in the world. We are all different in our thinking, living, body shapes, race, gender and etc. No two people are alike and we transition in different ways. I don't believe in the third gender, we are two with blender tones. Just like in race, there are no true Europeans, Africans or Orientals. We are all blended now. I transitioned and I am mainstream now. I don't know if I pass that well but I am accepted by my work mates. I go places and I am accepted there. I fly on airplane, take cruises, ride on trains and buses, all accepted. I have been all over the US and in some foreign countries, been accepted in all. I don't make a fuss. I don't demand anything. My transition was uneventful as I got all my paperwork in order before my surgery and was never questioned. I feel cause I never threatened anyone. Now, I'm a big girl, not fat. I have changed the way people think of trans people who really are transexuals. I also believe that if you were a transexual you would want to change as much as you can. Now, I do know there are circumstances that make this hard or impossible. Just like you, I read your book. You wanted the exterior done before the interior. Donna you are a wonderful person, and I really like you. Then, of course I have never met you either. I just go by your videos, blog and your book.
Sheila

Anne said...

Donna,

I really do have mixed feelings about your Activist/Advocacy activities.

I very much admire your courage and your accomplishments on behalf of the TG "community".

Where I do part company with you however, is when you ASS-U-ME that just because I object to the "sameness" of TG and TS, that I consider one "better" or "worse", than the other.

Your "laying that on me" is as offensive as your accusation that "I see TV's or GQ's as inferior". I DON'T. I see them as DIFFERENT.
IF you can accept that, then we might even be able to find other area's of agreement.

Anne

cathrynp said...

Donna, I like you but I think you fail to realize that by APA standards, you have failed transition by transitioning to trans something rather than woman. Some of us knew from the get go we were meant to have female bodies and grow to be women. Professional trans are considered failures by the top level folks that made up the DSM team and advisors and will not be considered "cured" by the new standards. I have no problem with you being a professional trans, I have a huge problem with you representing women such as my self as like you or clowns like Sandeen and Helms and company.

Transsexuality is pretty much proven as much as anything in biology gets proved, to be a neurological pre-natal form of intersexuality. You either are or you are not. If you are, you will move heaven and earth to put mind and body in congruence, this is called the Dysphoric Imperative which is the cause of what used to be called GID crisis. You are doing a huge disservice to future women born with this condition by contribution to it's apparent erasure in the eyes of the general public which has been the goal of the transgender dogma for the past 15 years. TGs have left zero room for mutual respect here as you know I personally attempted those 15 years.

sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

I'm happy but not surprised to see that there are others out there who have their heads screwed on straight, and whom having consumed the Transgender kool aide of do whatever you want and force society to accept it as normal.

Anne said...

While we all have differing opinions and perspectives regarding various issues based on our own UNIQUE points of view and LIFE EXPERIENCES, I do NOT think that it is ANYONES place to DEFINE what is right for another human being.

What works for Cathryn might not work for Donna. That is just LIFE.

Nevertheless, there is the very valid issue raised here that while the majority of the TG "community" wants/needs/desires certain "accomodations" from society at large, a tiny MINORITY, (IE the well integrated TS), "needs" and/or desires nothing more from "society", than any other naturally born man or woman.

I think that the major bone of contention is the conflation of TG with TS. To deny the existance of a "true" TS as opposed to a psuedo TS or TG, is to deny the reality of MY life and the lives of 1000's of other mwn and women whe were born nuerologically inter-sexed.

Surely we can agree that changing "gender" IS NOT the same as changing one's sex.

Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana Powe said...

Some of these comments make me rather sad. I was able to transition while working as a police officer more than ten years ago and have lived mostly anonymously as a woman, especially since retiring and moving to another state. I've been incredibly fortunate in my transition.

Having said that, I certainly don't think that my passing privilege is anything more than that - privilege. It's not because of some merit of mine. It's a product of a great number of factors, many of whom I had no control over. I am very grateful for the life that I have gained. However, ultimately, there are only people. People come in a huge variety of shapes, colors and sizes.

Even when someone meets a certain standard for being whatever they believe themselves to be, our bodies and our minds are not static. We change. Focusing on details like the shape of genital tissue or clothing preference is to focus on superficialities and the world craves less of that, not more.

I'm with you, Donna.