If anyone is up this late, one of my recent favorite bands, Gogol Bordello, is going to be on David Letterman. They’re something like gypsy punk. More after they’re on.
We meet tomorrow, August 1st, at 7:30PM at the LGBT Center on 13th Street. If you’re a partner of a trans person, straight gay or otherwise, do come.
Recently on our message boards, the partner of someone who was transitioning posted about her very last day with her male husband. She was sad, she was mourning, and she was feeling both loss & resentment.
Sometimes the larger trans community seems to view feelings like that as anti-trans; that a partner isn’t throwing the big coming out party for her transitioning companion is seen as less than enthusiastic, and the difficult feelings are interpreted as saying ‘trans is bad.’
But the thing is, it’s part of the gig. There’s a lot of change involved in transition, which every trans person with half a brain admits. I mean, that’s the point. Change is a difficult thing for most people – all people, really – and it is stressful even when the change is a good thing, like getting a better job or getting married or having a baby that you’ve long wanted.
But to miss the old, worse job, or thinking fondly about the time when you were single or childfree, doesn’t mean you don’t want the new change in your life. You do. But you can’t just tell your mind not to think about how it once was, either.
& Sometimes I think that’s what’s expected of partners, that we never have a time to say, “I did love him as a man.” We can’t admit that we liked the cocky or shy guy we first fell in love with, & the partners of FTMs aren’t supposed to mourn the loss of breasts and smooth cheeks that they loved to touch.
But the thing is, as any trans person should know, repressing a feeling of loss or sadness is really bad all around; repression poisons the groundwater, in effect, and everyone feels it. So while I don’t advise partners make themselves miserable longing for the past (just as I wouldn’t advise trans people to think the future will definitely be rosy simply because they’ll transition), expressing the more difficult feelings associated with transition is healthier, in my opinion, in the long run. Not easy to hear as the trans person, for sure, but from what I hear from same trans people, they too may need some time to mourn the loss of their own former self.
After Avalon was bought by Perseus and Perseus eliminated the Thunder’s Mouth Press imprint altogether, I was wondering – and worried – as to what would happen to My Husband Betty, since it was published by Thunder’s Mouth. Lo & behold, I got the news that MHB is going to be moved to Seal Press, who published She’s Not the Man I Married.
I’m very pleased, since MHB has continued selling – not in giant ways, but more like The Little Engine that Could. But more than that, I feel like I have a home as a writer (& from what they tell me, the folks at Seal feel similarly.)
& Betty is home. Whew.
In Curve magazine’s current issue (Vol. 17, #8), there’s an interview with me and Julia Serano aptly titled “A Queer Three-way.” The interviewer was Curve editor Diane Anderson-Minshall.
Aeneas a little more awake, but still on the couch. He’ll get up… eventually. Or he’ll just go back to sleep.
Cleaning in an air-conditioned apartment is very odd, indeed, as eventually the time comes when you have to bring a box of old books or a bag of garbage outside & then you’re hit by the wall of heat, you go limp and sweaty instantaneously, all your resolve dripping away like the sweat off the end of your nose.
A reviewer recently misquoted me as having written that I was called a “dyke” when I was a kid, when in fact the word I used was “butch.”
That mistake, while minor on the surface, has got me thinking.
The difference between the words is that essential difference between sexual orientation and gender presentation, which are often conflated in the first place, but which I tried to dissect in She’s Not the Man I Married. Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t issues like this that cause some of the rift between the gay/lesbian community and the trans community; I’d imagine, for many masculine-leaning lesbians, “butch” and “dyke” are pretty much the same slur. But the thing is, “butch” bothered me – because it was true. I was butch. Being called a dyke never had the same effect, exactly because I knew myself to be heterosexual.
Of course reading that kind of error made me wonder about how much the critic could have actually gotten out of my book, or how much she might have been willing to get out of it. I’m fascinated by the ways gender variance is allocated to gay & lesbian people but not to heterosexuals; it’s a big theme of the book. For someone for whom the words “dyke” and “butch” are the same thing, I must seem like I’m splitting hairs. But the review, alas, did end:
(I)t’s an earnest book that might appeal to those questioning the nature of gender identity, marriage, and social attitudes about both.
& I did learn, quite a long time ago, the vital importance of being earnest.
I just wanted to congratulate genderwarrior & trans activist Joelle Ruby Ryan for having won a scholarship from the Point Foundation. She was one of four trans people to win one this year.
The Point Foundation gives scholarships to LGBT students – 38 this year, all told.
More about all four of the trans students below the break.