“I believe in trans people. I believe in us because we have been honest, at least once, in a way few people on earth have been asked to be. I believe that is what makes us so frightening. That integrity is written all over us. You can see it in the dark. There is no avoiding seeing in us that choice to hold onto the truth even if no-one else would stand with us and do the same. That is enormously threatening. It is no wonder that so many people and communities claim that admitting us among their number might destroy the foundations of everything they know.”—little light, holding on (via kiriamaya)
I’m on tour during pride (again!) and we’re driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco and maybe if I’m lucky there’ll still be some confetti in the streets.
A long time ago, I sat in a hot car with my father and told him I was gay. I think I was 18. It was hot in the way that defeats any attempt at air-conditioning, and the heat loosened muscles and made everybody sweat equally, profusely. It made it a little easier I think to finally tell him what he obviously should have guessed at for about a decade and a half. It was the middle of the summer in a part of Texas kind of near Dallas and he had driven me from his shitty apartment complex to my mom’s shitty apartment complex and we were sitting in this heavy heat in his 280ZX just not saying anything for a while. Then I told him, and he sat in the maroon velour and heat for a minute before offering, “For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re gay.” I could and did laugh because this kind of narcissistic anti-reality shit regularly left his mouth and it had long since ceased to hurt my brain or crush my heart. The flat-out denial was actually an effort on his part towards generosity.
It turned out he was right, in a way. I’m not strictly gay. A couple of years ago, I did an interview of some sort with Out Magazine. I was in their annual round-up of somewhat well-known *queers. I was a little surprised when, ahead of the interview, I was asked via my management to clarify for the publication how I identified, like sexually and/or gender-wise. I thought it was weird of them to ask and I also hadn’t bothered to try to publicly identify in a long time cause I’m privileged enough not to have to worry about it too much, plus I didn’t really identify as anything. Identifying seemed like the death of possibility. I don’t remember what I told them. Something extremely open ended.
I’ve had relationships with men and with women and with people who might not identify as either one of those. I feel extremely fortunate in that I truly don’t give a fuck when it comes to the gender of the person I’m dating. It took a long time to be comfortable with that. I wanted badly to fit into the straight, binary world I thought I’d grown up in. We were Catholic. If you’re not sure what I mean, imagine the feeling of being certain you’re just about to crash your car and then substitute that for whatever ever non-Catholics feel when they’re attracted to somebody or craving a second serving of ice cream or remembering being angry at their mother one time years ago. I was a high-school student when a girl grabbed my leg at the late night diner where we smoked cigarettes and drank coffee and played western swing on the jukebox and I was real turned on and then I had that car crash feeling for like weeks. It had been coming (for years) but that was the first totally vivid flush of that feeling and that particular self-awareness. It was isolating as hell and it sucked. Eventually it settled into a life-long bothersome internal conversation about What Am I and Who Am I Attracted To. I wasn’t trying to identify, I was trying to not be confused.
A much longer time ago, when I was 3 years old (I don’t actually remember this but I’ve been told) I announced to everyone who would listen that I was a boy. I get the car crash feeling, still, talking about it. At the time, though, I was defiant and happy. My parents were mortified. I insisted on being referred to and treated as and BEING a boy at my Christian preschool, at our church, around our populous extended family, and in every public arena. What made it worse (for the folks) was that I did look and act like a boy and many people assumed I was a boy and were just confused about why I was announcing it until they figured it out and then they immediately let my parents know exactly what they thought of them with a pair of razor sharp dagger eyes. I am quite certain it was awful for my parents. I don’t begrudge them their confusion and despair. They felt burdened by God and their community did nothing to dispel that.
Eventually the criticism from my family and the insults from other people were internalized and I gave up and what had been pride became shame and then I really was like everybody else for as long as I could pretend that I didn’t like boys and girls. And I talked about that couple of years in my life like one talks about having wet the bed or having been a diehard NKOTB fan. An embarrassing anecdote from the far distant past.
As I got older, it never occurred to me that I should pay any attention whatsoever to the feelings ranging from awkwardness to disgust that I felt when I looked at myself in a full-length mirror. I condemned every one of those feelings as vanity, even before I was fully aware of them. I haven’t been Catholic for a long time but my guilt certainly still is.
I saw a program last year about a clinic in the midwest for transgendered kids and their parents. The kids are counseled and lead their own gender explorations and their parents are assisted in negotiating the parental confusion. As a result they are collectively gifted with an understanding community. It knocked me over. I cried, a lot, happy for those kids, happy for their parents. I’d really never considered that what I went through when I was a kid could’ve been anything other than a childish dalliance. In effect, I had to come out to myself.
Gender isn’t clear cut for me, and finally, I dig that. I did at one time identify as a boy. I sometimes, but rarely, identify as a woman. Mostly I don’t think about it. I don’t feel tied to gender. “Genderfluid” is the closest I can get to identification. I like the word trans, in its all-inclusive definition.
Last I checked in with the old man his views on the gays had softened. An admission something to the effect of “maybe the world is changing” was mostly mumbled in an unusually thick drawl before he closed the subject for conversation. It was the last time we talked about such things. The old man is old enough now that he won’t change and I am old enough that I no longer want to try to change him.
But maybe this will help somebody get a little closer to thinking of trans people as, at the very least, human. Or maybe it’ll make somebody pause the next time they’re thinking about casually insulting someone based on their perceived gender identification. Or perhaps it’ll help somebody sit down and shut up and let trans people, particularly trans people of color, define their own lives and terms. I’m not the one to lead any conversation about that. There are others who have and who will continue to do that very well, and you don’t have to look very hard for them, and you should. We should. We should talk about it, or rather, most of the time, we should listen, and accept, and respect. The more you learn the more acutely you’ll understand just how overdue that respect is.
* - this is a word I use affectionately to describe lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and non-gender-conforming people. Not everybody uses or likes that word. if you’re not queer, you probably shouldn’t use that word. just saying.
an email intended for the jana hunter who writes sitcoms
BERNIE WOO(30) world renowned physicist, engineer, Robot Designer, and “Lonely Nerd” has Secretly created the Ultimate Female Robot TOBORA (“a robot” spelled backwards) and MARRIED HER in VEGAS.
TOBORA(22) is smokin’ hot. And when BERNIE and TOBORA are forced to move in with Bernie’s Parents and younger siblings, in his old neighborhood, life gets comically complicated.
This is the first comedy that shows just how funny Machines and Humans can be together. Especially when TOBORA can communicate with the toaster, microwave, fridge, and every Satellite that orbits the Earth.
Why do you think a 'POC' deserved the grammy more? Just cause they are black, huh? Wow. And you assume that just cause Macklemore is white (and straight, like that has anything to do with anything) he shouldn't get an award? Just cause a rapper is black, doesn't make him better than all other rappers that are from different backgrounds. My favourite rapper is Punjabi. But maybe he would be ok with you, cause you know, he isn't white. Do you have any idea how racist you sound?
Jesus. What can I say? You’re right, and I’m sorry. I feel especially bad in light of the fact that several of my friends, and relatives, are both white, and rappers. And I wasn’t thinking about them. I was thinking about myself. I wasn’t thinking about all the straight, white men that go out there every day or at least a couple days a week and stare prejudice and some other kind of obstacles in the face and, as white men, straight ones, rap anyway. I’ve always had some kind of sympathy for a couple of them, and I never thought too hard about what that meant, but I guess that’s what it was. They have it hard. No one can possibly understand what they go through every day, just to be white, and straight, and a dude, and to be rapping in this mixed up world. And me a white person myself. It’s shameful. I’m sorry, Mickey. I’m sorry, Hunter. Sorry, Frank.
But I promise you this: I’ll fix this. I re-dedicate myself to my race. I’ll even start thinking about straight people in less dismissive terms. I’m sorry, Mom and Jimmy, and all you other straights; I haven’t been giving you a fair shake for a long time. Me and all the others, we get together and we just go around in circles, making fun of straight people in a catty, hilarious manner that doesn’t befit queers of our ilk. It’s pathetic. But it’s true. So true. What I’ve been thinking, I can’t say. Straight, white people, I’m sorry. You deserve all the Grammy’s. You deserve all the Golden Globes (thank God that turned out ok…mostly) and all the Emmy’s and the Oscars and the, um, People’s Choice Awards, and some others, too. After all, you’re better. You’re better than all the rest of us. Inherently. If you weren’t, things wouldn’t have been the way they are for such a long, long time. And if there’s anything that history has shown us, it’s that the good guys always win.
R U CONFUSED ABT WHY SOME PPL R MAD THAT MACKLEMORE SWEPT THE GRANMYS?
ok. that’s ok. let’s talk about it.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis may be good guys, though I have no respect for their musical abilities, but whatever floats your boat. However, they’re straight, white guys that won a lot of awards (that POC deserved) for writing a pro-same-sex marriage song (and have widely been lauded as some sort of pioneers for having done so.)
Macklemore won awards that essentially commended his support of equal rights instead of his abilities. Because he’s a straight, white guy.
And the Grammy’s are supposed to be awarded based on merit. And that’s the thing you might be stuck on. Many of you will agree that, in that respect, the Grammy’s are a joke. Well of course they fucking are. All awards shows are jokes. They obviously don’t serve that purpose. So what purpose do they serve? Why do the Grammy’s matter?
??? million people watched the Grammy’s last night. I can’t, and I can’t imagine that you can, escape that shit on your social media feeds today. And though you may be so enlightened as to see straight through this elaborate cultural farce, not everybody is. Some people do NOT realize that it’s ridiculous that a ~shitty white rapper won instead of unquestionably more talented black rappers. Some people do NOT realize that it’s an insult to many a queer musician that Macklemore is now the public face of Marriage Equality Pioneering in Music (<——what he won awards for, lol .)
It’s great that there are straight, white dudes out there who manage to overcome being straight, white dudes to the point that they can recognize the worthiness of the minorities that invent literally every fucking thing one could legitimately call cool but it’d be a whole lot cooler if meritorious people of color and the LGBTQ community got recognition for their immeasurable cultural contributions right where all those tens of millions of eyes are pointed.
eating something soft and biting down unwittingly on a piece of metal
being shot in the head somewhere in the isosceles triangle formed by the bridge of your nose and the two corners of your mouth. bullets that enter the skull through this triangle almost always pass through the brainstem on their way out of it, interrupting the signals that control breathing and heartbeat
being present during the loading of a cremation oven in which dozens of dead housepets are going be reduced to ash together
insects with mouthparts that suck or puncture
swollen and inexpressible respect for another person
bleeding that cannot be stopped
a rapaciously convincing schema for the world that dries up the flow of your intuition
freefall into poverty, as opposed to your life in it
drowning: the need to cough that can’t be answered and which grows more and more urgent until it consumes your whole awareness and you lose consciousness
that octaves of meaning and organization exist which no intuition is subtle enough to perceive nor words ductile enough to construe: that if god (among any number of other things) is real, any feature of its existence might easily be beyond our capacity for faith
your mother dying
awards, prizes and brass rings of all kinds
colicky frustration in public
vomiting in public during the daytime
the first coup of the US government
being present for a preventable death you can’t prevent
narrow passages in caves that turn out to be too narrow to go through and too tight to back out of
anyone in any position of power who hasn’t had a deliberate, private, and extended conversation with a person who is homeless
" " " " with a person who is in recovery
" " " " with a person who is on the other end of the greatest run of economic prosperity the Western world has ever experienced
big black sunflowers late in the season after their petals have withered, when the heads are so heavy with seeds that they droop towards the ground