Thursday, February 6, 2014


My dad used to tell me, "Never engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent."  As with many of his pearls of wisdom, this is good advice.

When I was growing up, the only place to see transpeople of any flavor was once a year or so on Phil Donahue.  That was it.  I used to buy TV Guide every week and look at the topics for the upcoming week so I didn't miss that show.  One of the ironies is that I eventually did some work on the Phil Donahue show, but that's another story.

Needless to say, most of the depictions of trans people at that time (1970's and 1980's) was unflattering, unrealistic, and never really scratched the surface of anything that I'd call substantive.  That's partly why I had so much difficulty trying to identify what I was - simply because I knew I wasn't like them.  I had nobody to relate to.  Still, I looked.

In the 1990's and into the early 2000's that changed.  We became the subject of bi-annual documentaries (usually, right around the ratings sweeps period).  These were typically formulaic productions focusing on the whole "manly man becomes woman" thing).  Some were better done than others, but they served a purpose.

Well - now that trans people are becoming much more mainstream it appears we're becoming much less interesting.  I can't remember the last one of those documentaries that I saw.  The main source of these things has switched from featuring unfamiliar faces to newsworthy notables, often produced by CNN.  They did one on Susan Stanton a few years ago, and more recently one on Kristen Beck.

We have also become much more articulate at expressing our realities.  And, not surprisingly, we've become much better at defending ourselves when the boundary separating willful ignorance and simple mistakes gets crossed.

It is in that context that I find the recent Piers Morgan interviews with Janet Mock so remarkable.  The first, on Tuesday evening, caused a torrent of outcry and was strongly denounced by Ms. Mock (details here).  So a second was arranged (link here) so Mr. Morgan could get an apology.  It didn't go well for him (link here).  He's no match for her.

As for me - the hotel that I call "home" for the moment is one I've stayed at several times before.  Most recently was the weekend after Christmas when I came here to look around - knowing that I'd probably end up coming to town for a more extended stay.  The thing I've learned over these past few days is that it's particularly good for the pups.  There's quite a bit of open area for them to visit when we go outside for their "stuff".  Anyway, if things go as I expect my last night there will be tonight.

Besides the general upheaval that moving brings into a life, it's also an expensive proposition.  I'm still paying the cost of breaking my lease back in Bellevue.  The expenses of the trailer, the gas, and the other travel expenses are not insignificant.  Putting down security deposits for the new place (it's an extra $350 just for the dogs!), start-up costs for various services (electricity, DirecTV, internet), etc. put quite the strain on the financial chain.  I'll be glad when this hump is past and all is calm again.

I should stay here this weekend to take care of some things but that's not in my plans.  I'm headed home to Charleston.  Charleston brings a deeper peace to things that is unavailable anywhere else.  I'll manage the logistics when I get back next week.  :)

1 comment:

Gwen said...

The only thing I seem to recall about Phil Donohue --- at least early on, was that he was married to Danny Thomas' daughter Marlo...
I knew (suspected) who/what I was from EARLY childhood (think early Korean War timeframe) but thought I was a freak and/or (as my parents used to say) just going thru a phase.
I don't think I really found anything written until I was in the military and got to libraries from towns with populations of more than 4 figures.
Then, in the mid-80's, I found HSX and Genderline on Compuserve and got into a support group of like people -- some of whom (like Becky Allison) that I still converse with. Rumor had it that there was a new and upcoming entity about to revealed -- something called "The World Wide Web" on another entity called the Internet. But that was still the better part of a decade away. But I did start finding people similar to me at that point ---