Tagged: Transgender Warriors

Finding & Not Finding

I couldn’t find myself in history. No one like me seemed to have ever existed.

— Leslie Feinberg, Transgender Warriors

There is a special violence in erasure. We have been edited out of everything. History forgets, religion abhors, culture ignores. We are a people with no path. We are a life with no story. We are a future with no past.

We chart a dangerous course, balanced on a tightrope over oblivion. One false move, and it’s not just death that awaits us. It’s invisibility. Buried in the wrong clothing. Jealous hands of relatives reaching, taking, possessing into nonexistence.

I am indebted to those who work to fill this gap. And yet, those who do find themselves in history find mostly convenient illusion.

Maybe there is also power in not finding. Maybe it is life itself that lies at this narrow intersection of void and multitude. Freedom emerges, a fragile vibrational chorus, produced in this tension of opposites.

I lost exactly nothing when I lost my first self. Havel havalim. A face, a name, memories–it all amounts to nothing, for I am more now, not less. Therefore there is addition in subtraction.

Transition is a spiritual discipline. We die many times before we die. Some spend their lives straitjacketed by path, past, story. Not I.

I couldn’t find myself anywhere. First I cried at the injustice. Then I smiled, and I opened this strange gift.


Gender Theory, Gender Practice

Today, a great deal of “gender theory” is abstracted from human experience. But if theory is not the crystallized resin of experience, it ceases to be a guide to action.

— Leslie Feinberg, Transgender Warriors

Who can explain us?

“Gender is biological,” they said. “You’re born a boy or girl, and that’s the end of it.”

They were wrong. Our bodies defy their rules. Our lives defy their prescriptions.

“Gender is socially constructed,” they said. “You’re made a man or woman, and that’s the end of it.”

They were wrong. We were told who we were. We were told through every possible channel. We were told by our parents, our teachers, and our televisions. We were told by our friends, our doctors and our governments.

They hadn’t figured on anyone telling back.

Therefore we are miracles. We are miracle workers. We are testament to the exact limits of the human mind.

What does the human know? Not grand Truths, nor the exact limits of every category. The human knows little truths, general trends, and meaningful exceptions.

The human, hopefully, knows him- or herself.