That Is Not How the Universe Arcs, Good Friday 2018

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Post Script: After I posted the material below this morning I got a bunch of people “liking” it who are peddling assorted self-help nostrums, new-age nonsense, and Jesus Christ. Trust me, don’t waste your time. You could not possibly find a less receptive customer for what you are vending.

Original post:

Last night I got an email from the membership director at church. She sent me a link to an article that promoted thinking happy, loving thoughts and staying open and trusting and peaceful in the face of daily life.

It hit a raw nerve. I wrote her back:

No. Being open and trusting and peaceful gets you ridiculed, exploited, and killed.
We just had to bury one of my sisters here in town. She had been beaten to death and her remains stuffed into a garbage bag like the garbage that most cisgender people think we are. I was one of those women sobbing at her candlelight vigil.
Just in the last month I have had to deal with someone who was supposed to be a medical professional who went out of her way to be really nasty to me because I am trans and I had a similar experience in the office where I went to get my taxes done.
And I don’t even want to talk about my biological ex-family and the nightmarish weeks I recently spent because of how they treated me when I was  isolated and vulnerable and at their mercy.
I don’t have the privilege of living in a happy-thoughts fantasy as that ridiculous woman advises.
In order to stay alive, I must continually scan for hazards and assume that anyone I meet might want to hurt me in some way, because, all too often, they do.
My God, when you handed me that trans sticker for my car did you have any idea what you were asking of me?
If you put an anti-Trump sticker on your car the worst thing that would probably happen is that some jerk in a parking lot might call you a “libtard.” If I were in a parking lot at night with a transgender symbol on my car, my body could easily wind up in a garbage bag along a highway somewhere.
Perhaps I don’t belong at the church. Between the people who like to get in nasty little digs when they get a chance and think no one will overhear and the oh-aren’t-you-a-cute-little-token-to-show-how-enlightened-we-are types it certainly isn’t pleasant being there.
I see no evidence whatsoever that the arc of the universe bends towards justice.  My life experience has taught me that if  anything the universe bends towards cruelty.  I trust my experience, not wishful thinking.
Writing this now has me wondering whether my showing up at church has any point at all. I will have to think about that.

 

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That Broke My Heart

Louis-Jean-Francois Lagrenee La Melancolie

I am still unable to write a full account of a terrible experience I had over a period of about a month early this year. Every time I try, I end up sobbing. I have decided that I am over being sad, but I do want to say something about it. Yes, it is relevant to being trans.

All you need to know is that I was asked by my biological family to come and help out during a crisis. This involved me traveling about 1,500 miles and staying for weeks. I went hoping to repair some severe strains in our relationship.

Instead I discovered how much I am resented, how much hostility there is towards me, and how they have no interest in the real me. I was no more than a convenience because I was the only person they could find willing to come.

I was there for a month and not once in that time did anyone ask me how I spent my time. Not once did anyone ask me about my hopes or my fears or whether I had anyone special in my life.

I made a number of attempts to tell them about my life now, but they made it clear they weren’t interested in the least.

Much of the hostility directed at me was rooted, I believe, in my inability back in the day to function as a father, to fill that role. Unlike some of my sisters who learned to do passable impersonations  of men, I was never able to pull it off. I am far too passive, too diffident, too girly. I let down my kids because they needed someone strong and masculine and protective. I failed to protect them. I failed them utterly. That will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Often the hostility erupted into drawn-out episodes of sarcasm and rage. It was horrible. The visit was a miserable experience for everyone.  Even if you are the person discharging long-held resentments and anger rather than the target of it, the experience is hardly pleasant.

After I got back, I had a session with my psychologist. Transgender people have made up a significant fraction of her clients since the 1990’s. She told me that she has heard variations of this story many times.

Transgender people are usually so desperate for acceptance, for being forgiven for being unable to be the person that someone needed, that we are willing to go to extraordinary lengths for our biological families.

It doesn’t work. No matter what you try to do, people who aren’t going to accept you just aren’t going to accept you.

Your adult children are not going to forgive you for not being the parent they needed so badly. That ship, as they say, has sailed.

However, they may be all too willing to use you as an exploitable resource, as a mere convenience, to vent their frustration and rage and resentment on you, and then contemptuously toss you away when you are no longer required.

I won’t make the mistake of trusting them again. I don’t dare. And that breaks my heart.