It seems to happen periodically, but with unfixed period. Sometimes my thoughts are in too much of a jumble to make much sense out of them. I took a look through the past year’s columns and discovered at least three occasions in which this happened in 2008. Each time I still managed to cobble something together anyway:
March 28: Thought Salad
May 2: Mixed Veggies
Sep 5: Stone Soup
Hence, I guess, the name of this edition. Hopefully there is some of the meat required as part of that hobo dish.
The ingredients: identity, privilege, memories, creativity, pain. Not necessarily in that order…and sometimes in combination.
Perhaps the reason I’ve been having trouble concentrating the last week or so has been my back/hip pain. It’s a vicious circle sort of thing: the ligament problem in my hip (it tends to slide out of place) causes inflammation, which causes me to be unstable when I walk, which causes the back pain, which causes more problems with walking, which causes more hip pain.
Yes, I have exercises for the hip, which are supposed to stretch the ligament.. No, I don’t do them. They are more painful than the original pain.
My verbal abilities may have been somewhat waylaid, but I’ve been blessed to discover other avenues of creativity since I transitioned. I’ve created several graphics over the past week and will display them en route to the end of the piece. Larger versions will appear if you click on the thumbnails.
With any luck, I may discover a poem along the way.
As a teacher, I have the misfortune of discovering young adults who have told me, when I have given assignments where they can express their creative nature, “I don’t know how to be creative.” I think that’s one of the saddest sentences I know.
A month ago, on December 1, the city of Kalamazoo, MI, enacted protections for its GLBT residents by adding the phrase “sexual orientation, or gender identity” to the list of “actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, marital status, physical or mental disability, family status” which may not be used to disqualify people from housing, public accommodations or employment.”
The American Family Association of Michigan fought against this act. December 30 was the day their petition drive was due to submit 1400 signatures to put this up to a vote of the people. Their prime attack was that the act would allow transgender people to use public restrooms. More specifically, what they fear is that “men would be able to use the women’s restroom.”
Rescinding the ordinance will stop potential violations of the privacy rights of women and children in public restrooms, locker rooms, and showers.
Alas, I commented in the DK diary on this subject, pointing out its real purpose in this regard, which was to deny transsexual women the right to identify as women. And believe it or not, I discovered amongst my fellow members some folks who wouldn’t want me to share a restroom with their wife or daughter, folks who think that even 16 years after my transition, I am not only a man but also a man interested in raping their women and molesting their children.
I was shocked. I still am.
In Feminisms tryptamine wrote about privilege this week. That’s always a tough subject for me in particular and for transwomen as a group. I acknowledge that I have had a certain amount of privilege growing up. But the privilege I seem to mostly have now is the privilege of being thought to be other than the woman I view myself as.
I do not consider that to be a good thing.
I personally don’t think the idea of a person born a woman, but now a man sharing a locker room/restroom would be nearly as much of an issue as the other way around, but I could be wrong.
Mr. Man has no problem with a transman in a men’s locker room, just the other way around. Why?
Meanwhile, someone else was pushing the following idea in teacherken‘s diary about Rape:
Make the standard punishment for rape Sexual Reassignment Surgery.
That would end it cold. Few of the men who rape would do so if there was even the smallest chance of that happening to them.
So if people meet someone who they identify as having had a sex change from male to female, they would be free, if they wished, to assume that person had been a rapist? How exactly would this help transwomen become accepted in this society?
Can someone help me out here?
I had a lengthy discussion with the woman who voiced that last opinion. I was amazed at how much erroneous information she had about the lives of transfolk here, mostly because she doesn’t see it in her country. She has never even visited the US.
That and some more unpleasant conversations this past week were punctuated with the news of the death of one more transwoman, along with her boyfriend, and the disrespect accorded her even after death…and especially the transphobic commentary spread across the Internet because she happened to be a sex worker…though I doubt the latter really mattered as much as her being trans.
And it all stirred up so many memories I’d rather not remember…of someone trying to run me down with his car…of being arrested in Boise for using the women’s restroom at the bus station…of standing outside a Vino‘s in Little Rock after a Womyn’s Coffeehouse at which I read a couple of poems, making arrangements to be interviewed on Queer Frontier, the local community radio GLBT show and having rocks hurled at the host of that show and myself while a group of 10-15 high school kids called us dykes, and actually being thankful they recognized me as a dyke and not a tranny…of having the cops show up and say, because we were still able to stand up, “no harm, no foul.”
Those memories make it difficult to talk about privilege, but I will try, if that’s what anyone wishes to do.