12/4/08

Cohesive Community?

Sometimes vacation affords one the time to think. Unfortuantely my thoughts are currently plagued with wondering if our tiny, local, loosely adhered TG community will even be any longer. I so wanted a community here in Montana. The TDOR we hosted in Billings filled me with so much hope and I was actually proud of what we accomplished for a time, but Pride goeth before a fall, I guess. These thoughts actually wander and reach outside of what I see as our local situation, but I thought I would share them. I would love to open some constructive dialog. Please, anyone, give me your thoughts here without casting blame, naming names, or engaging in personal politics. I just want to know how you feel about what can be done to hold our community together and to actually grow it. Here is my rambling:


Community. There is the whole of humanity, within that whole we tend to separate ourselves out into smaller groups based on so many different criteria: ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, etc. And I am guessing this is all in a quest to express some sense of identity in the world. If we can align ourselves with groups we identify with it makes us feel both included and unique.
In the constant categorizing of people a group has arisen that is small and often maligned, but it happens to be a group that is gracious enough to include us and offer us acceptance and protection. GBLT. We get to be the letter at the end of this now common acronym and in some ways it seems appropriate because we are kind of an after thought, the late-comers, I guess, certainly the smallest subgroup within this group.
You would think it is enough to be divided up into such a small part of a small part, but apparently that is not enough for some of us. There are those that continue to divide the T into yet smaller subcategories until we eventually hardly have a group to belong to. Well, I am a pre-op, 4th class, second sub-phylum, early manifesting m2f transsexual who exhibits inclinations towards conservative wardrobe and pansexual/asexual submissiveness with a fondness for thin socks and I can't have anything to do with anyone outside of my category. Three words spring to mind: W..T..F? I have actually seen websites dedicated to the differentiation between so-called "true" transsexuals and "the rest". Really?! And the self-proclaimed true transsexuals hate the others. I am serious.
So these people have taken the smallest subgroup of the smallest subgroup of the already small GBLT section of humanity and imposed an us/them differentiation on that. Really, who does that leave for us? Who are my friends and supporters? Who am I allowed to approach or feel a commonality with? Well, I personally feel a commonality with all in the T category because we all are gender-nonconforming no matter how that manifests and those looking at us from the outside truly have no understanding of us. I mean, as a transsexual I don't truly understand what if feels like to be a CD, how it feels to have the ability to be happy with being at times male and at times female, but I do understand what it's like to not be cisgendered and the discrimination that comes with that and that is our commonality. Going further, I feel a commonality with the G, B and L as well because I am also sexuality non-conforming and I understand how that separates us from the straight populace and the discrimination that comes with that. (Just a side note: No matter how you describe yourself with the T category, unless you are truly Asexual you are, or will be at some point in you life, either G, B or L. This is inescapable.)
I have learned very much the hard way that just because I am trans doesn't automatically win me friendship and acceptance by every other trans. We are still human with individual personalities that sometimes don't really mesh. It was really hard to take at first because, upon coming out, I needed friends who understood, but falling within such a small category of those who should understand leaves so few human beings to befriend. And when even a few of them didn't like me on a personal level and snubbed me that was devastating and made me feel yet more marginalized, yet more alone. I personally don't like every single trans person I've met either, but in order to maintain this itty-bitty community I try to be, at least cordial to everyone I meet. It is my hope we all do that to an extent so that we don't have to feel alone and so divided. We already have something of a reputation with those outside of our group of being Drama Queens why prove them right with petty infighting. We are bigger and better than that.

3 comments:

  1. Outstanding, Kynni! Personally, I believe, humanity as a whole has always segregated people into groups for one primary reason: self-preservation. That need is reflected in the drive for safety, security and the perpetuation of the group.

    There's a perception of safety in numbers as the saying goes. Like-minded people feel more secure when what they express as intrinsic beliefs or how they outwardly manifest their personal styles are readily identifiable and approved characteristics acceptable to "the group".

    Groups by nature are exclusionary. Maintaining the status quo of "the group" comes at a price.. That price is fear. Fear of what's outside the comfort zone of the group. Fear is manifest as discrimination, hate and sadly at times, violence. Eventually, the incestuous, myopic nature of the group feeds upon and consumes itself—like a cancer. No wonder, this flawed system of homogeneous exclusion stifles growth and development. Lacking an adaptive nature---diversity--it's only a matter of time before the group begins to wither and die. But as with any living organism the group will fight most fiercely when it senses its own impending demise. In these times fear translates directly into anger, rage and violence toward “outsiders”.

    That's pretty much how I feel about all groups--including the fragmented transgender community. Until we're capable of suspending judgment we'll live and die by prejudice born of fear; fear of that which we don’t know or understand. An accepting mind, open to the beauty and diversity of creation, non-judgmental and eager to learn, is the only way any community on planet Earth can sustain life and create a better, more harmonious future.

    Suspend belief by temporarily pushing judgment aside. Be open to receive with the innocence of a child. Eagerly sample all that humanity has to offer. Respect and nurture that which we do not yet know for in the attempt to understand we will grow in our own powerful sense of self. That self respect translates into respect for the world around us which returns the Karmic favor in kind.

    I realize my response plays like a philosophical ramble, but change is an inside job. Every single one of us---white, black, young, old, religious, spiritual or atheist; straight, gay, bisexual or lesbian; male, female, transendered or intersex---must undertake the job of inclusion, the embrace of diversity within our very hearts & souls.

    Take care of business at home and the world gradually becomes a much more welcoming place for all to peacefully co-exist.

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