Don’t get me wrong. Charleston, SC is an amazing city. Very friendly with people who really want to help. But I really miss K. I miss our evening cuddles, discussions and laughs. I also miss the furrkids. And I miss belonging somewhere. It’s the one thing I like about the GIP group. Outside of K, it’s the only other place where I can be myself and no one questions my path or how I go along that path. I’ve spent my life trying to find a community that accepts me as I am.
And this is actually a lot harder than it seems. Many communities have predefined definitions of what their members might look like, be like and what their experiences are. And as much as some members want to be open, the majority often seem to balk at that which is different. What’s most disturbing about this is that it often appears in a group that is already disenfranchised elsewhere. Trans individuals are often pushed to the outside by the very groups that are often excluded from the rest of society.
It’s funny in some ways. I had expected for mainstream society to reject me but not the society or group that apparently is supposed to be open and supportive of me. I’ve been pondering this whole idea more and more as I’ve gone further into my transition. One of the things that I think is happening, from my point of view, is that I’m starting to be viewed as “straight” because I’m viewed as a male (and thus, a man) and interested in a woman, who many don’t necessarily view as queer. My time in the lesbian community has been short and my own background was that of a heteronormative life. So because I don’t have the same background as others, I’m viewed always as an outsider and believed to not be able to understand. Perhaps true but each experience that we all have brings so much more to the table.
Certainly some trans individuals don’t feel that they belong in the LGB community because they view their whole identity as straight and heteronormative and what they are addressing is a birth defect. But that doesn’t include all trans individuals. Much like the rainbow that represents the LGB community, it also represents the trans community. We have queers, gays, lesbians and even straight people. Maybe we need to stop looking to the LGB groups to represent us and become our own representation. The reality is that it’s human nature to want to belong to some form of community. We do this by volunteering, being part of a spiritual group, joining a political party and other community-like options. For some, the internet even acts as a potential place to find community. But even online we find exclusions and separation. Perhaps, for me, part of the problem is wanting too much to feel like there is somewhere where I belong beyond my home.
At least, I’ll be home soon. And next week I’ll hang with the guys from the GIP. I’ll be able to report, at least, more instances of passing. I got called very definitely “sir” today when I left the site I was teaching at. I suspect that some of the “Ma’ams” I get of late are more of a confirmation for others as to how they want to view me than how they do view me. More and more I’m confusing others as to where I fit. The next thing that I need to do will probably be the thing I need to finally have others see me as I’ve always seen myself. I’ve been doing some self portraits of myself of late and can’t help but see the transguy/man that’s there.
And you know, regardless of what anyone else thinks I like what I see and who I see.
It’s all a good thing.