Friday, November 7, 2008

The TS Revolution

So much has been written about the process of transition with all it's surgical and social consequences it is hard to grasp the greater overview of where we are now historically in the TS community . I call this a revolution and yet no one has been taken prisoner nor has a shot been fired. This revolution , like all social/cultural revolutions, comes on like a slow smoldering fire that consumes the stereotypical myths and legends of the past . It converts enemies into supporters and offers up far greater questions about our society rather than the titillating answers once found in news articles about people changing gender . It's battles are tiny and held in living rooms and workplaces across this country. It is information driven , unstoppable and undeniable .

I sit here 60 days away from an election that could give is our first black president and was nearly going to deliver our first female president . It must seem just like another day for children raised in the last 20 years but for many of us born in the ( ahem , late ) 50's this is the realization of a virtually impossible dream. The suffering from prejudice and hate of people of a different color surely couldn't have ended could it ? The time tested reasons for discrimination against blacks gone ? You felt it end didn't you ? Was there no boom , no click , no signs of it pulling out like the tide ? No, because that is how cultural revolutions happen . Person by person , one by one in a slow but considered change of opinion. The old guard die off and a new generation not so indoctrinated in religious , cultural and traditional myths begin to ask questions that can't be asked being steeped in a primitive social climate like we had in the 50's.

And so now we find ourselves caught in what surely must be the awkward beginning stages of an age of reason for the transgendered . One that women , people of color and gays have had to endure in their struggle to be considered common . And that is really what all those groups were trying to attain , the right to be considered as boring and equal as the norm . This revolution has been marked by a growing awareness that natures plan for gender is not a locked in absolutes . It has been brutal for those who must suffer the constant challenge of their biological vs mental gender but it is equally as hard for those who must suffer change the most , society. Most young transgenders know the truth because they feel absolutely no transition other than some physical changes if they choose HRT or SRS . Indeed it is society that has the hardest time adapting . Your friends , your family , your fellow employees , your employer and your government suffer incredible anguish over not being able to create a barrier that defines them as "normal" . While perfection is an impossible goal there have been huge strides in simply having supporters for the transgendered at all . Again, like a black man becoming president this is a magnificent achievement and a crack in the armor of a once insensative society.

As wonderful as that is not everything is right in magic kingdom . All humans strive for that particular "normal " label because it disarms enemies and as a side effect gives them the impression they have the right to judge others who have not yet achieved the "normal" certification. While 350 GLBT organizations fought like hell to make the Employment Non Discrimination Act inclusive of gender some vocal gays began to shout "Our rights now and the rest can go fight for themselves " ! Understandably many gays have become impatient to have the rights that they have been wrongly denied for a lifetime . There is though an unfortunate logic behind their calls to dump people over the side of the employment discrimination lifeboat and it rests on the belief that they were fighting for gays of a particular class , not for equality of all . For the right to be a straight looking homosexual and not the rights that all people deserve to have . For the transgendered we should not be so bothered because even though those particular people may have damaged a bit of the unity of the LGBT and are bigoted even towards other gays the truth is if they achieve gay marriage it solves many of our problems as well because gender will not matter in marriage . From my point of view the glass is more full than empty.

Ok, so we can see signs of social acceptance all around us for blacks , gays and by golly, even some for us. Big and small companies have transgender policies, they bring in transsexuals/transgenders for training employees if someone is in transition . That's wonderful isn't it ? Well, yes and no. Not if it is done without a certain understanding of privacy . Imagine any of your fellow employees in the same situation where you and the rest of the staff are forced to receive training because they are "different ". Fun huh ? To me that works against the employee because unlike everyone else , they have their privacy removed. It's a wonderful effort and I am in awe of all those who work to make a transitioners life better so this is no criticism but to achieve being boring should require less effort. Indeed, this is not the revolution I spoke of.

And now , the real revolution. Forgive me if I get all emotional in this last section but it is something I never expected . It hit like a hurricane. Like a thousand screaming marmosets whirling around us , each one taking a tiny nibble from societies collective mythology about transsexuals and transgenders. What is this miracle ?


That's right. A lot of Americans don't even turn their TVs on anymore and why ? It is because REAL PEOPLE are more interesting , enlightening and intelligent than fictional characters created by bored TV writers . The media stream that once fed the American consciousness with examples of admirably boring samples of perfectly "normal" has been diverted and it's consumers lured to a place where information is instant and diverse. People merely have to put a word in a search box and then choose from the bite size offerings produced by real people. It challenges one way religious indoctrination and it's portrayal of anyone different as "evil ". It cuts through media domination by right wing media monopolies and offers something the corporate media could never even conceive of , interaction. Don't agree with the ideas you are being handed ? Tell them ! For the first time you can see and hear the people speaking their minds. For those in the LGBT community it offers us unfiltered equal time for the first time in history .

One of the true cornerstones of hate through history has been the purveyors of propaganda's unchallenged in ability to construct the image of the groups they wanted to marginalize . They alone decided what America could and would see. In pandering to Mr and Mrs Viewer they built what were entertaining and mostly fictitious objects of ridicule played humorously against a pretense of American "normality". YouTube has undone that and given anyone with a webcam the ability to reach a decent sized audience regardless of who they were in the pecking order. Now people are seeing TS's who are not only incredibly beautiful but talented, articulate and intelligent. We are no longer staged actors on America's Jerry Springer show of life . No longer bound by how something is edited by people who were looking for our worst qualities while ignoring our humanity . To create hate you need to maintain a carefully created image and objectify your victim so they are presented as less than human. Unfiltered we are making our way to becoming as boring and as common as everyone else on this planet and it is all for the good. All we need now is a transgendered president =)

1 comment:

pe1biv said...

Written beautifully!

However, I would like to refine how far we did get a little bit.

Women; mostly there. But, as women are still not hired equally and payed equally, we still are not as normal as it should be. There also are still many places in the world where I as a female contractor can not go.

Coloured people; largely there. But the KKK is still there and also discrimination is still noticed, though in most places if it is, it is subtile.

Lesbian and Gay people; getting there. Equally treated in some countries, but still not in other. Also still countries where it is illegal.

Transgendered people; getting out of infancy I would say. Fully legally accepted in some countries with equal protection under the law when it comes to work and other legal issues, in other countries totally not at all.
Elitism in the LGBT community is wrong, though indeed some do not see this as such, as we all do not comply to the label that was stuck on us at birth and as such do not adhere to the social norm that is attached to that label.
That's why we are one group that has to stand together.

Indeed we can be optimistic, but we definitely will have quite some way to go untill we all wil be 'normal' in this society.