The greatest stain of dealing with people who have bad energy is that they can lower your own energy. Throw mud at people and at least some of it will stick.
I had the great pleasure of getting to know a major public figure in his later years of life. Utterly charming and charismatic. He had lived a life of honour and achievement and was suitably recognised for his contributions to the greater good. And then one day, he was accused of paedophilia. You will know from my own postings how awful I think that crime is…perhaps the greatest social crime of all. The theft of innocence.
The accusations rang false. Calumny. To me and to many others who knew him. And in the end, he was exonerated. The journalist who had “exposed” him got him mixed up with someone else. In addition to being fully exonerated, he was awarded substantial damages for libel, which he donated to a sex abuse charity. He was a good man to the end. But some say that the accusations drove him to an early death, ruined his health, and caused incredible emotional anguish. To think that one can live a life of honour and then be slimed to that degree by a mistake or a malicious person is a public tragedy played out at the expense of one person. Disgusting really.
Politics today is so laced with nastiness that the operating philosophy of tarnishing your opponent with innuendo has become an operative philosophy. People slime people in the hope that how we perceive the other person will change. It is a form of hate crime. It is the othering of the other.
Being stared at and judged as a trans person is very unpleasant. That is not atypical of my daily life in Italy. It may not be sustainable. Who wants that? Most of the time I don’t notice it. Or it bothers me little. But I have been hosting one of my closest friends and we have been going out and about, and it isn’t that the stares have increased, but that she notices them everywhere, talks about them, and feels uncomfortable. And this has meant that I see them, notice them, and end up feeling uncomfortable because she talks about it. In the end, I had to ask her to stop calling attention to it—after all, the stares were not directed at her, but rather at me.
She graciously complied and as if the Red Sea had parted, I didn’t see it anymore. And yes, I do believe that if you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. I also believe that as a trans woman, I have an obligation to my trans sisters and brothers to stand out, and to do so with as much grace as I can muster. We are all always under the microscope. One bad action and we are all tarnished. We create space through grace, not just for my kind, but for all humankind, because a tolerant heart is a big heart, and a big heart is a happy heart.
Confidence is a fragile thing. Once it is gone, it is hard to put back. Conscious confidence is brittle. Natural confidence is not the same thing as defiance, but defiance certainly helps.
I don’t know whether politesse prevents so many people staring at me when I am on my own, but when I am obviously in “couple” walking around with an attractive woman, perhaps it becomes open season for staring. It is hard to say, but it is unpleasant.
The motivation behind the stares depends on the age and sex of the person making it. And bless the few people who come up to me and affirm me. And yes, people, if you are reading this, we do need affirmation. It is very important for all tolerant citizens to send messages of solidarity to us, even when we are strangers.
Older Italian women, establishment figures, look on me with a kind of judgement and horror, and yet, I know I look better than they do in clothes that are at least as nice as theirs. Young people, teenagers, are harder to deal with, as the threat of group behaviour and the potential for aggression and violence is always there.
Since I was young living in Italy and studying, I was thinking about the dominant gender of different cultures. There is a kind of gender leaning of the nation-state that somehow expresses its psyche. Italy is female but struggles with its self-image. Spain is utterly and completely male, which speaks to why the Spanish man has been so tolerant and welcoming to me. He is comfortable in his manliness.
I’m tempted to conduct a poll, to see where people land. Britain is male. Russia is female. Germany is male. Denmark is female. Norway and Sweden are male, Finland is male. The Netherlands are female. Of course, all of these countries exist on a gender spectrum. Don’t we all. These are my thoughts. What are yours?
I think about this most in relation to Italy. This is a country which struggles with homosexuality…and one might say it is Catholicism, but then you look at Spain or Argentina, two even more historically devout countries, and you see levels of social tolerance which speak to the world. Italy is also a country obsessed with “chicks with dicks”…an incredibly popular category of pornography here (as it appears to be everywhere). Indeed, as a dear friend remarked, it’s a pity that the erect cxxk need be connected to a male body when a female body is so much more elegant.
Why do people even bother hating or disliking or “othering” other people’s sexuality? What’s the point? They’re not going to sleep with us. They’re not even likely to ever have the chance to get to know us. Maybe we’ll serve them coffee in a café or attend to them as a nurse when they’re sick. We’re everywhere, even if there aren’t many of us.
the non-binary tunnel is dark and long, but when you reach the light there is great joy.
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Hi cowgirlsue, thanks for chiming in. I don’t have an experience of the tunnel. For so long, I didn’t have words to describe it. The arrival of the word non-binary to my vocabulary more or less coincided with my coming out to myself…and when you find a word to label what you have been feeling, it comes as a liberation–‘oh gosh, there’s a word for this?! There are others like me?!’ that’s kind of what I felt.
But I was afraid to stand out, afraid of what others would think until one day I didn’t anymore. And that was that. To heck with them. It is who I am, and that’s that. I don’t have a problem with it, why should anyone else.
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Yes that’s the point where it gets to be fun. Glad to hear you made it.
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Beautiful. And to think that the only barrier to this bliss was my own fear. Had someone told me that a few years ago I might have felt like slapping them.
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