Good Omens

Living a genderqueer life

Month: May, 2013

I (want to) live in a world full of trust and love

What if I told you that my trans experience isn’t something I had been looking for all my life, but something I heard about and wanted to try for myself, and found that I liked? Would that make my experience less true?

When I first started studying comparative religion (in a galaxy far away called year 2007), on the second day of the study year, all new students gathered in the department’s seminary room with the professors and other faculty members. We had sparkling wine (the university still had money back then), and were asked why we wanted to study the subject. I remember saying that even if the natural sciences or psychology discovered exactly where it is that religious experience originates, be it evolution biology, cognitive neuroscience, psychoanalysis, sociology, whatever, the experience itself would remain. And because of that, it is people’s experiences that I’m interested in, not the reason for them. I’m not interested in biology, and I’m not interested in the existence of God. What interested me then and still does, is what people feel and how they make their feelings & experiences understandable to other people.

For me, it’s the same with trans experience. I don’t want to need to know if being trans is something born with us, or if it’s something we choose, or something else again. All I need to know is that the experience itself is there, for me at least, and that other people have told me they also experience it. After that, it’s a question of trust. Do I require some proof from you, because I think I know better, or do I try to live knowing I don’t know everything, and might as well know nothing?

As a last school thing before summer, I’ve spent some time writing an essay about early Christian conceptions of God colliding with those of the Hellenistic world. In the latter, the word God refers to a perfect being. To be perfect, you need to be complete and unchanging. And to be unchanging, you need to be detached from everything else. Is that something I want?

It may well be that being genderqueer is something I wanted to try, tried, and found out it suited me better than being a man. When I had freed myself from the tight confines of being a man in this culture, I found I did not fit back in – not because I had been trans all along but because I had found freedom in it unlike anything before. Or it may be that I have been genderqueer all along, and finding the concept, I slipped into it, not by choice but because it was what I am.

But as I said, I’m really not very interested in the question. What is important to me is that living genderqueer has opened to me a world of good I didn’t know existed. It is a world that doesn’t reach everywhere yet, but it will eventually – a world of trust, of shared griefs and joys, of absurd moments when it collides with other worlds. Not an easy world, but one full of love.

Pebbles

I’ve tried to post (at least) every two weeks, but since the last post, I’ve had so much to think about, that I haven’t been able to decide where to begin – and so I haven’t written anything here.

One evening, I had a long conversation with a friend, which showed me some things inside me: difficult things, hidden things, long-lost things. I was left weak and crying, but fortunately I wasn’t alone, the friend was there to help and comfort me. In the following days, I felt like I had let my mind’s walls down so fast, too fast, that what had been contained within – my sense of self, or parts of my identity –  had spilled from my grasp like too many pebbles from a child on a seashore. I had to begin gathering the pebbles from the ground again, and doing so, to look at them and decide which to keep.

There are some pebbles it’s easy to keep. Good memories, relationships with people, worldviews… Positive things that give me hope and make me happy. Others are lovely and important too, but having too much of them will exhaust rather than invigorate; most of these involve doing something, like meeting people, studying, working, cycling…

The third, most difficult group of pebbles is the one with all the questions in it. It is at the same time the most crucial of all: every pebble here is one I can’t afford to throw away, even if I’d like nothing better. These are the ones I reserved a time for a psychologist to talk about, because I’ve at last started to come to terms with not being able to handle all these by myself. Some of these are:

Gender identity. An assigned male at birth transboy? What the hell? What I’m going to do with it, go through the treatments and start binding?

Gender presentation. My presentation is gravitating towards “dapper butch” again as summer gets nearer, but I hate it that people will take me for a well-dressed man. I mean, I’m not dressing like this because I want to “present gender”, but because I like to dress like this!

Sexuality. I’d love not to be so embarrassed by knowing what penises are usually used for. It’s like I’m ten again and just read the school biology book for the first time. Yuk!

Being good at things. My identity seems to center on being good at things, and looking at the world in a positive, optimistic way. This is of course very nice. But (a bit like Hyperbole and a Half writes on “not giving a fuck“) I’ve come to realize that this isn’t just about having loads of positive emotions – for me, it’s also about not being really able to handle the negative emotions, and instead storing them away until you can’t do it any more.

I think I’m going to spend a long while on these pebbles. It’s going to be good.