I tend to read a lot. The subject seems to change with the season but I perpetually consume the written word. Which is a bit weird because I didn’t read so much as a young child. I remember a reading competition when I was in grade one, where over the course of the semester everyone would track how many books they each read. We were given a handout with twenty circles joined by a pathway surrounded by cartoon characters. Most people finished their handout by December, a friend of mine went through four such handouts. I read two books.
Now I can’t get enough. I’m not sure what’s changed, perhaps it’s the onset of the digital age. Maybe it was something I’d yet to discover. I think I may have simply decided reading was for girls and like so many things expelled it from my life. These are the kinds of thoughts I’m still unpacking. This also applies to my taste in music, I was very careful not to listen to anything that might expose me, and as a result listened to very little music at all. Same goes for clothes, decoration, hobbies, aspirations etc…
Why did I do this to myself? Despite the charade I soaked up every scrap of information relating to transgenderism I came across. To this day I can remember just about every movie and television show that touched on the subject. I recall sitting in the living room watching a television report on Caroline Cossey, the transgender Bond girl. I said nothing out loud but I can picture that report as I write this, and I’m still unsettled by the tone of shock and puzzlement in the reporters voice.
I’m a big fan of Jim Carrey and the movie Ace Ventura, but the end bothers me a lot. The bit in his apartment with the plunger hit pretty close to home. Don’t get me wrong I’ve seen the film several times and will probably watch it again someday, it’s hilarious. Mostly. I feel it’s important to accept the good with the bad, it’ s the only path to understanding. It’s not like the producers set out to offend anyone, it was just meant for laughs.
On a recent trip I witnessed two separate live performances in which they did an ugly drag bit, where the joke was solely that they were an ugly guy in a dress. Everyone in the audience laughed and cheered when the ugly cross dresser attempted something sexy and fell down. I sat quietly in my chair and tried to appreciate the bit for the harmless entertainment the performers no doubt saw it as. Ok I didn’t appreciate the bits at all but neither did I see any benefit to voicing my objections.
Every few days or so I come across a blog entry where some precocious blankety blank will post their opinions on the trans population. Often some trite paralogism about how they are transethnic or transpecies, or it’s an appeal to misinformed religious standards (side note, Jesus was the guy standing with the marginalized and oppressed, at no point in the Bible does Jesus say, “Judge not lest ye be judged, unless they are queer.”). I do my best to read it all, and take what I can from it.
What’s really frustrating is that these criticisms echo my childhood feelings towards transitioning. I remember rationalizing to myself that thoughts and feeling do not change who I really am, I’ve learned the hard way just how true this is. I often found myself defending my faith as a child, encountering many of the same arguments I see directed at the gender non conforming. It’s all just made up nonsense, it can’t be proven and therefore it simply isn’t so. Hmmm.