Well, my lovelies, Emma had the most amazing telephone conversation today, and although I’m still reluctant to give too many details because I’m still worried that me enthusing too publicly about this might make it go away (although this is really just free publicity), I’m happy to report that the news story I mentioned the other day is moving along nicely!
That’s right, Emma, transwoman extraordinaire is going to be on TV!
And it’s not some dinky little news station setting the story up either, I’m fairly sure it is the largest outlet in my state, so I’m about to go from being a little ol’ nobody blogger to nighttime news rock-star!! lol, not really, I’m sure it will just be a simple 15 minutes of fame before I go back to being nobody again, but to hell with it! I’m going to think of myself as ground-breakingly newsworthy anyways!
What’s that old adage, fake it till you make it, right?
I don’t know exactly when it will air because we aren’t going to start the interview/filming process until July but I am so excited right now!! This is like a dream come true for me in so many ways! I spent years trying to achieve some degree of visibility with my writing as an author, and now that is starting to happen! I’m a little sad that it’s not because of my fiction novels, which I really loved writing, but I believe that this is actually a much better reason to have been noticed. As a fiction novelist the best kind of change I could hope for was a change in profession, or an influence on the kind of fiction novels people read and write (specifically novels with female protagonists that don’t fall into the formulaic/token female-romance-role). As a trans-activist blogger, I’m being offered the opportunity to not only raise awareness about transgender issues on a much larger scale, but I’m rather likely to inspire others out there to live their lives more authentically as well.
The thing the trans community needs more than anything right now (at least in my opinion) are openly transgender individuals bearing the weight of public scrutiny while at the same time promoting a positive image. I’ve been saying for months now that in order to assert our social power we have to be willing to step out from the shadows and demand equality. We must be willing to rely on the self-efficacy of our gender identities to assert our rightful claim to human decency. I know not everyone will agree with me, because some fear that more visibility for transgender individuals will only increase the occurrence of violence or discrimination against us, but I’m inclined to ignore those arguments. A cause without a recognized face, without a publicly understood icon, is a cause that will never get off the ground. How much positive change has resulted from trans icons like Lavern Cox, Lana Wachowski, and now Caitlyn Jenner living as openly transgender? I say a great deal. Millions of people are talking about transgender issues that would never have otherwise thanks to these people.
Some might argue that the negative backlash to these individuals coming out so publicly is an indication that their efforts are in vain; that they are only furthering the oppressive forces against transgender people everywhere, but when any group of people who are traditionally ostracized and oppressed for not conforming to societally constructed norms tries to ascend to a higher rung of social power and acceptance, there is always this negative backlash. I have quoted Gandhi many times before and I will quote him again, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”
They used to ignore us. We didn’t exist in any sort of mainstream. We were seen as an aberration, as a mental disorder. We were a perversion that was curable and preventable (see Freud). Then they started to laugh at us. We became the butt of countless jokes on television, radio, and print. Watch any 90’s television show comedy about adults and you will almost assuredly find a joke somewhere in it about someone kissing a “girl who was really a guy” or some running joke about one of the guys being caught practicing typically “feminine” activities (i.e. wrapping your hair with a towel after a shower). To transgress gender boundaries became a joke, one that policed behavior through the most subtle of ways, directed humor. Once that finally wore off and society realized you couldn’t ignore, nor joke away the transgender issue, they started to fight us. Hate crimes increased, trans related murders went up, words like “tranny” and “he-she” took on new and spiteful meaning. We started being lumped together with pedophiles, sexual deviants, and rapists. They started to fight us. But despite the greatest cis-normative efforts to police gender and to demoralize people like us, we kept insisting on our right to live as we were supposed to.
I believe, although I may be overestimating the possibilities here, that this opportunity for my story to be taken to such a broader level, will only serve as another positive example of why transgender people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. I will step out of the shadows of nobody-ness and become a person the television viewer can sympathize with. They will see that I am a human, with hopes, dreams, desires, and all the regular things that come from being an American. They will see that even though I’m different from them, I’m still a human being, and therefore worthy of the same respect as any other human being. If I can, just by deciding to go along with this news story, persuade even a handful of people currently on the fence about trans issues to see transgender individuals as people instead of some negative, dehumanized label, then this will be completely worth it.
Anyways, I just wanted to check in and let you know that my plan to not change the world, but to rock it, is progressing nicely! ;)