Privacy and question answering seem to be twin shores I swim between. At one, I am free of the ridiculous and somtimes mindbogglingly stupid - indeed offensive - questions I can be asked.
Do you have a penis?
Do you think you’re really a man? You don’t ejaculate, right? On the other, I am afforded some opportunity to share my rich and complex past and present.
For years I lived on this second shore. There, I felt compelled to answer any question asked of me. In return, I thought I could share my story. But over time, I have come to understand that the price for changing my gender requires me to pay with my story.
I am now an audience member to my own story. Others, particulary non-transsexuals and academics, have greater authority to tell my story.
As I often describe my life as a story, there has emerged over the last ten years a genre of transsexuality story telling. One of the key features of this particular genre is an almost total loss of privacy. In fact, I have now come to understand, privacy is as socially constructed as gender, and transsexuality is constructed without the notions of middle-class privacy that create and inform other genders.
The farther out one goes in either gender or sexuality practices, the greater social pressure to conform to the notion that we have no privacy. BDSM folks who get asked the rudest questions about how the have orgasms; bisexual folks who get asked questions about monogamy and “I mean are you attracted to me? If you’re attracted to women and men?”; and trannies, for whom any question seems fair game.
In the transsexuality genre others expect us to we smile as we answer yet more questions about our genitals or our bodies or sex practices. Even trans and trans-positive activists expect us to be “out” at a moment’s notice, whenever they need to parade us around for their latest cause.
So after writing my life in this genre for a number of years I find this story leaves me spent, frustrated and angry. About four years ago I went on a sabbatical from answering all questions about my life save a dear, dear friend and my future wife. A relief and a sense of living my life for myself swept over me.
Over time, I have felt a need to reinvolve myself with folks around my story, which is why I blog. But now I write against genre. Questions asked do not require answers from me. Or they might invite a question in return.
Do you think you’re a man because you ejaculate? What about men who don’t ejaculate?
Yes! Yes! Yes. I know that by doing this, I might convey the wrong impression. Gasp. Or might give the wrong information. Bigger Gasp.
But they aren’t interested in me. They are interested in maintaining their own story through an all too socially common technique of asking questions for which they already have the answers to. If I can fuck with their story a little bit, so be it. They don’t get to confirm their gender that easily.
Our only obligation as transsexuals is to be true to ourselves and tell our truest story possible. Yes, people will flip out when we don’t answer their questions. Who cares? Those folks are pablum.
Other folks, the good and kind ones, won’t ask us questions. They will let us tell our stories over time, the telling of which they receive like a gift, breathless and expectant to have us in their lives. Reach out and go against type. Protect the soul instead of stinging it on the tail of the scorpianed question. Go against type and gain a richer, more nuanced life story.