I was doing yoga in my garden just this morning with Sebastian, when he raised something that’s been on my mind a while.
“Fiona,” he said, while adjusting my position in a deep hip opening yoga position, “I have always like that on your blog you are unafraid to deal with the deep and penetrating issues.”
I felt him leaning into my posture, pressing me slightly deeper into the position.
“I’m not sure I wish to discuss penetration just at the moment, Sebastian,” I said noticing Marjory, my next door neighbour bending over to pick a couple of raspberries from a bush at the end of her garden.
Sebastian noticed my gaze, and said, “Yes. I wonder what Marjory’s position would be on this.”
“What are you banging on about,” I asked Sebastian.
“It’s just I have another client, an older gentleman, who I happen to know loves to crossdress. He mentioned the other day that if he was younger he’d love to have transitioned, but that when he was young such options weren’t available.”
“Yes,” I replied. “Well, surgical transitioning is not right for everyone. And especially some of our more senior members have had to live most of their life in a compromised situation. For many of us, Sebastian, quiet acceptance of ourselves and the occasional opportunity to dress, or behave in a feminine manner, is really about as good as it gets. It’s really very sad.”
“It does seem terribly unfair,” said Sebastian.
“Perhaps, but times are changing. My daughter for example, doesn’t even know the biological sex of some of her friends, and really doesn’t care. Why would she? Unless she plans to sleep with them it’s not really something she’s bothered about. This is wonderful, but not the world some of my senior members grew up in. We just have to be grateful life is becoming better for us and our sisters,” I said and poured another cup of tea.
I continued, “I mean, it’s not really that long ago that Joan of Arc was burned to death, and if you ask me there was a whole lot of trans going on there. Being surrounded by faggots and getting all hot and bothered didn’t turn out as she’d intended. Fortunately things are generally improving. I don’t’ think anyone is burning us at the stake these days, except perhaps in Kentucky.”
“Sometimes it doesn’t look that way, with so much transphobic rhetoric coming from some politicians,” said Sebastian.
Now, I know it’s not easy to invoke the memory of French military heroes, and I’d be the first to agree they’re pretty thin on the ground. Commenting about a small war lasting 13 days early last century, involving a minor Polynesian island, the German historian Wolfgang Walderschifeerssen commented, “certainly it was a short war, but to be fair the French usually surrender long before anyone has the chance to be a hero.”
I turned my attention back to Sebastian.
“I know, but things are improving gradually and we have to hang on to that thought, though it is surprising sometimes where the criticism comes from. Having said that, sometimes we have to just quietly move forward and not allow these tings to hurt us,” I said.
“As trans people we learn patience, often the hard way, and quietly move forward. And sometimes that’s our greatest strength. Yes, it’s a lonely road much of the time, but we are tougher than we look. We can take it.”
I pulled my yoga pants back on, and refreshed the tea pot. How lovely my garden is in the fine weather. Ali really has done a spectacular job this year.
I thought about our conversation later and I was inclined to think that it doesn’t really serve us to pay too much attention to what detractors think about trans people. Their idiocy is not our concern. If their views directly impact me I am likely to speak up, and probably vociferously. However, if someone is too ignorant to understand, that’s really their problem. Other people’s ignorance and lack of insight is their own failing after all, and frankly I have neither the time nor motivation to engage with them. If it’s something that is hurting other trans sisters, obviously I have a rather more combative approach.
Over the years I’ve learned few people who are single minded will ever turn around and say, “Fiona, I think you’re right after all.”
Once someone’s mind is made up they will hold onto their own bad position in the delusional thought that shouting louder and more often may make it somehow more acceptable. Just look at the disgraced former president to see this idiocy in practice. For what it’s worth, this type of intransigence often comes back and bites these people in their flabby orange ass, but that is, again, something they have to live with.
Sometimes the best we can do is learn to accept our position and quietly work toward change in the few ways we can. Whether we are just able to crossdress now and then, or whether we are moving toward full transition, we all have our own unique journey, and we can’t expect everyone to understand it. What we can do is practice being ourselves with a degree of understanding and kindness toward others as best we can, safe in the knowledge that it is easier for us than for many of those who came before us.