Threnody

Posted by – November 20, 2008

Okay, maybe it’s me, or my goth past, or I’m just odd that way, but I happened to find this blog, The Blog of Death, while I was looking for – believe it or not – info about David Reimer, and considering this is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, I thought it was appropriate to bring up.

I once went to a cremation in Indonesia, which is a loud, lovely affair; people wear white and they make a lot of noise and walk in circles and doubleback on the path to where the cremation will occur. They do all this in order to confuse the evil spirits, who are apparently only capable of traveling a straight path, and so keep them from bothering the soul of the recently dead.

The fire itself is so hot, and hot in Indonesia is not nothing, because it’s already so hot, and all the running back and forth and making noise gets everyone even hotter, and sweatier, and then there is hunger and thirst, and people eat and drink.

When I saw Susan Stryker speak recently, she talked about Ghost Dance, and like her, I don’t want to bother anyone else’s culture to make my point, except to say: transing, as she posits, is about moving, about assembly, self-assembly and assemblies of people, which is why, in some ways, it makes perfect sense that the Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day about death. Death is transing a boundary we don’t understand, a barrier we approach, each of us, alone. But as a community we gather, we lament, we tell stories of each other and we make loud noises; sometimes we double-back and we certainly don’t walk in straight lines, do we?

Keep our recently deceased free of evil spirits. Wear white and make noise. Celebrate their lives, and your own.

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