Transgender 1

“One” because there are likely to be other rambles like this one.  This does not pretend to be an argument, or an essay, just some thoughts after watching an episode of the British cold case series… Waking the Dead.

I first encountered the notion of  transgenderism in the 1970s (no surprise there).  I read a now-classic autobiography by Canary Conn, simply called Canary, chronicling her journey to final physical realization.  At that point I was probably like many others, equating transgenderism with being gay.   It never struck me until much later that it was a good deal more complex than that.  The Crying Game, and Transamerica were important points in my own understanding.  Transamerica, truly tragicomic.  Perhaps the most touching moment is late in the film in which the main character, having just had final gender reassignment surgery, says “I fucked up.”  Did that mean that he too late realized he was not transgender, or that he did not need the surgery?

In The Crying Game, the most telling moment is also late in the film, when the woman-wh0-is-really-a-man visits the Stephen Rea character in prison;  you really forget ‘she’ is actually a ‘he’.  For me, the fascinating part of the Crying Game was my own reactions.  Frankly, the Dil character was the absolute most feminine creature who has ever troubled my sleep.  Thanks, guy.

Number three in my list of tranny classics is that episode of Waking the Dead…Walking on Water, centring around a young man, Mark,  who lives as a woman, Maria.  In this one, there is no indication a gender change was planned.

And why should it be?  We live constantly with two different manifestations of gender…physical and psychological.  Is it necessary for the two to be one?  I think most likely not.  A person may see themselves as of the other gender, yet still have no desire to change their body.  As part of the lead up to surgery, candidates are often required to live as the opposite gender for a year, before the final event.  I wonder how many times it works out that the important thing IS living as the other, not necessarily having all the requisite organs.  And, let’s face it, we are really only talking about one part of the genitalia.  As for the other, well, all mammals are equipped with teats, and certainly both genders of the human.   (A male can even be induced to lactate…I kid you not)

If a male who is a female in mind falls in love with me, is he being gay?  Not at all.  His female desires my male.  And if I respond, is it not my male responding to his female?  To me, actually being gay means males in spirit desiring other males in spirit, and females in spirit desiring other females in spirit.  For the transsexual,   only the actions can be defined as gay, the motivations are in fact heterosexual.

A final note:  This is not to say that there are not people who are psychically crippled by the sense they are living in the wrong body.  They should get the surgical help they need.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 3:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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in death’s foyer

I Visit My Mother

I wrote this sometime late in 2010.  My mother died in May, 2011.  My family finally managed to get together to bury her ashes, and this came to mind, again, so, here it is.  What have we done to dying?  Does it not somehow diminish living?

Published in: on March 16, 2012 at 1:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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An Old Bastard

Every so often, you run across people who are so monumentally rude that you are left totally inarticulate.  It helps if they are punks, or drunks.  You can almost forgive them, the one for their obvious lack of intelligence, and the other for the paralysis of their discretion.  The ones I cannot stand are the old folks.  In Starbucks, today, for instance, Jane and I are passing the time,  she marking assignments, and me reading, as we sat at a big, round table.  Next to us, the two comfy chairs, big armchairs in a mock (or real???) leather, with a young guy, maybe early twenties in each chair, working their laptops.  An old crock in a grey suit walks up to them, and says “you people sit drinking coffee and occupying chairs  all day.  You are a disgrace to the race.”  Totally unprovoked.  The two guys just were thunderstruck.  I think actually it was directed at one of them in particular, he looked arabic or something similar, and that probably triggered the whole sorry thing.  Anyway. What do you say to something like that?  Especially if you retain some remnant of respect for age.   (Which I, personally, do not, believing that tenure on the planet in itself does not warrant my respect, and, certainly,  is no guarantee of wisdom.)  As he started to leave, I felt like saying something totally witty,  like “I think you have exceeded the three score and ten the Bible allows, so why don’t you go away and die?”  or, even wittier…”Fuck off, you dried up old turd.”   Saying either of those  might indeed have reduced me to his level, but it still would have felt good!  Alas. I remained silent until he had gone.  Then, Jane and I chatted with the two still-shaken young men, who, by their attitude to it all, indicated that they indeed still held a residual respect for the aged.  Wonder why that respect is a waning thing in our society?  It isn’t always the result of the self-absorption of youth.  Respect is earned.  It is not there by nature.  No one is owed respect simply by virtue of their birth, their money, their physical strength, their position in the family, or their age.  Respect is earned.  It is earned daily.  It is hard won, and very easily lost.  Do not mistake fear of power for respect.  They are alien to each other.  And, by the way, the fact that  someone is your parent should not earn him or her your respect… affection, maybe.  (Parenthood is a function of nature.  Any animal can do it.)  I believe genuine respect– the gracious acknowledgement of another’s virtue– like genuine cruelty,  is quintessentially human.   Now, the proper approach with a stranger is to suspend judgment and offer a dignified greeting.  That old bastard, by his total DISrespect, invited an aggressive response, which only his age and vulnerability made unlikely.  The gods willing, he will try it next with a Hell’s Angel.

Published in: on March 8, 2012 at 3:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Crazy People and Coffee

I spent the afternoon at Tillicum Mall, just hanging out.  I had driven Jane to work, and was killing time until I had to pick her up again. I went to the library, picked up a handful of dvds, and a few books, two thrillers by Ken Bruen, and Tales of Ordinary Madness, by Charles Bukowski.  I already had one by Bruen, Sanctuary, and  I sat in the cafeteria at Safeway finishing it off, then opening the Bukowski.  An old bastard, scraggly beard, jacket with HMCS Nanaimo on it, and  the inevitable baseball cap.  He nursed his coffee and looked at me, and I thought, oh shit, here comes another crazy.  Sure enough, he starts talking and says he remembers everything from every paper he ever read…Vancouver Sun, Province,  Globe & Mail, Daily Times and Daily Colonist, when those two were separate papers.  I worked for the Colonist, so I said I remembered when they were separate.  He said any page any date and he would know what was on it, so I toyed with the idea of mentioning January 26, 1966, page 3, but, since I could not remember what was there then, I thought that was unfair.  So I just listened to him ramble.  Well, not ramble, just repeat the same memory thing over and over.  Another coffee crazy.  I have collected a few.  I seem to attract them, they know somehow that I will not put them down.  There was this guy selling appliances and my then-wife and I had arranged for a purchase, and I ended up going down, and it turned out he was late late late.  But i had nothing better to do so I just hung around until he turned up and he did the deal and then invited me for coffee, his treat.  An offer I could not refuse.  So we sat over coffee, and chatted, and then fell silent.  After a really nice period of silence in which i was free to examine the waitress and assorted female customers, he suddenly looked across the table and, quite calmly, said “I communicate with people through their minds.”  And I just nodded, quite willing to accept his version of reality, at least while the coffee lasted.  He told me he and a group of salesmen and businessmen like him had a group that communicated telepathically, helping each other out in business deals.  He seemed perfectly sane, so it was either accept it, or accept that I was insane.  So that was one.  But, years before, I was sitting at 1230 midnight at Phil’s in Victoria, and this guy sitting just down the counter turns to me and says “you are the reincarnation of Russian Bill, who was hanged for horsetheft in Tombstone, Arizona in 1888”.  He also went on that B.C. premier W.A.C. Bennett was the reincarnation of Genghis Khan.  It all made a kind of crazy sense.  He said people tended to reincarnate together.  He never told me who Bennett incarnated as  in Tombstone Arizona.  Maybe the guy who strung up Russian Bill.  And he never told me who I had been when Genghis was around.  Which was really my big disappointment with that whole conversation.  This kind of encounter always seems to happen over coffee.  Perhaps there is some kind of meeting of the lei lines (did i spell lei right, or is it lay) at each coffee shop.  I always have had a reverent feeling for Starbucks and Serious Coffee.

Published in: on March 7, 2012 at 3:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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are we here yet?

Had to think of something for a title.  Just getting back, once again.  Spring is happening here, and i have beavered in the garden…past couple of days.  I fully expect i shall have to be driven to it from here on.  I am usually good for one or two really ambitious garden days.  A green thumb I am not.  Well.  I have returned to my k.yairi guitar and trying to flatpick some classical pieces.  Once again I am teased by the creative process.  Whenever I return to something,  I find I, somehow, in the intervening desert time, have actually made progress.  Makes me think I am correct in NOT concentrating for a long period on any one thing.  Just get into it for a while, then, when the mood strikes, go for something else.  When you return to the first thing, you will find that you have moved forward, it seems, in spite of yourself.  But, that is one of the ways I learn. Let the subconscious do the learning.  Just give it some food every so often.  Maybe it is not universal, but, you brethren in sloth, maybe it is for us!

Published in: on March 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment