Not passing is an act of civil disobedience; I wear my trans femininity with in-your-face pride.
The actions of the state, the Federal glue which holds it together, is being weakened by a steady stream of values-based politics predicated on “othering” whole slices of society. States are increasingly finding the independence of their voices, and this is attracting people who are like minded thinkers. We are witnessing the birth of tribalism, or how states have formed in the past in history—it is as if we are living cultural development in reverse.
The evolution of society is not supposed to result in greater Balkanization, but to more integration, acceptance. While this is true of the world at large, it is particularly true in the USA, and one of the US’s ‘gifts’ to the world is to export this kind of virulent, nasty, self-serving politics—the absence of civility. It is tragic.
Roe v. Wade and the aftermath of its overturning is just one massive wake-up call to the inevitable tide…There are and will be others. HIIPA for one. Environmental legislation is another. We will gradually come to live in ideological echo boxes, where people think like us…and the residents of States who don’t, whole States, will be brushed with judgement, the precursor to bigotry. How strange it will be to drive through “creationist state”, where people have deliberately succumbed to ignorance. Do we dare go to such a place? As a trans-woman perhaps not. It might not be safe.
Think it is far-fetched? There’s already very strong branding that separate Texas and California. And this is now becoming identity politics…the way the speak of each other.
The “my pronouns are ‘kiss my ass’” said by Senator Ted Cruz…how that kind of language is appropriate in the political sphere is hard to fathom. It is symptomatic of making a very real and valid point of sexism in language into a caricature or tool of hate.
Undo influence, our allies go along with us because they have to. The US is strong. Economically dominant. Our allies are dependent on us. But this is dangerous. The US is like a petulant child.
Do you remember the Gulf War and the campaign to bring other nations on board to the idea that Saddam was building and planning to use nuclear weapons? Many knew then that it was not so, that this was convenient propaganda for a war about oil, personal vendettas and regime change. Do you remember that the US congressional canteen removed “French fries” from the menu and changed the name to “freedom fries”. It is laughable perhaps if it was not so sad.
Latin America has lived with a bully in the neighbourhood for over a century. Is it any wonder that “Yankee” go home is such a common sentiment?
The EU’s existence is in part a recognition that “Great Power” politics drive the world. And while we might note the Great Powers are Russia and China on the one hand, hardly positive role models for their attitudes and aggressions, and the US on the other hand, the “good one”, is just as guilty of throwing its weight around the playground.
This naïve and childish mindset of the US can have deathly consequences. I know that everyone loves President Obama, and I do too, but I cannot help but think he has more blood on his hands than most other US Presidents. What do I mean? The legacy of the Obama administration in the Syrian genocide and the many dead during the Arab Spring is one of the innocent dead. It was well-intentioned, inspiring even, for him to say “reach out and we will be here for you,” and even won him (how ironic) a pre-emptive Nobel Peace Prize (which should be rescinded in my mind), but beautiful words do not shield people from the bullets of oppressive regimes, whereas false hopes of the ‘posse is just over the hill’ makes the victims stick their necks out. And that mindset is not confined to one political band or another. More recently ‘where was Donald’ when the people of Venezuela rose up in support of a young, democratically elected leader, Juan Guaido? Instead, there was macho posturing and false hope that there would be an intervention and then watched as the regime just ratcheted up the oppression. This is bully-boy language whether well-intended or not.
Why is this relevant here on this blog, a blog about being and becoming a trans woman, about sexuality? Because the tide of oppression on reproductive rights and virulent anti-trans rhetoric is symptomatic of the hateful ‘othering’ of people to remove their rights, to even acknowledge their existence. To be turned into an object of hate so as to facilitate our removal is to salve the conscience of the “silent majority”, those invested in maintaining the status quo. And the poison is so seductive, that many women, even some trans women (viz. Ms Jenner), spout the lines of the “the man” in an effort to cozy up to the power systems.
The point of being so political in this context is that I realise that being a trans woman is a political statement too. It is one about tolerance, fighting bigotry. And while fighting is so against my character, so not what I have come here for, or seek to do, I cannot see any other way.
My obsession of not passing, of being in your face and unapologetic about being trans, being totally and utterly out and proud to be so, is a political statement. I do feel as an older trans woman that I have a duty to my younger trans brothers and sisters. That in living without compromise, fighting, though exhausting, will create space for them. How could I live any other way?
Now the question becomes, how to take my gifts and leverage them for greatest impact. I’ll tell you one thing, it won’t be a personal quest towards submission. This ballerina giraffe will not go quietly. And you know what she thinks? How could anyone with a conscience be a man in modern society? Rejecting the toxic shadow will take much more than just lip-service.