Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trans Beauty Queen: The "Plight" of the Bumble Bee

Okay, friends, I have to call foul on this one… or at least voice a likely unpopular opinion.  I have been reading a lot of uproar over the news about Miss Universe Canada’s disqualification of contestant Jenna Talackova.  It is apparently prerequisite to entering the competition that contestants actually be born with all the body parts exhibited at competition time… or at least the ones in the genitalia category.  I wonder if there is a similar restriction against nose jobs and breast augmentation… hmm… but back to my complaint.

So, Miss Universe Canada will not allow a girl who was born with male genitals to compete.  I would say that is unfortunate, but really?  Are we really talking about making gains in the fight for trans equality by securing our right to join a beauty contest?  I do not know if I can sign up for that campaign.  I realize that the beauty pageant industry is working hard to establish itself as a beacon of... something or other.  I understand that women all over the world are fighting to demonstrate the value and… er… well.   I watched “Miss Congeniality.”  I know that there are people who want me to think it is about something more than being pretty.  I do not really believe that. 

I cannot help thinking that we might be doing ourselves a favor by simply steering clear of such antiquated and misogynistic exercises.  We could be doing something productive with that time - like watching paint dry.  I am not recommending... or even suggesting the abolition of the beauty pageant.  What else are those super-popular high school girls to strive for if being pretty does not matter? Like, ya know?  I simply believe we could find better ways to invest our collective energy… especially when we dare suggest tragedy in the making.  Ms. Talackova’s “plight,” really?

I would feel differently if we were talking about a victim of violence, or an underprivileged trans woman being denied essential care, or discrimination in the workplace based on gender expression... you know... plight.  Stop right there, no, I do not consider a beauty contest a workplace.  I am sorry.  Sue me.  I digress.  We are not talking about any of those things.  We are talking about an incredibly hot young woman, who will no doubt enjoy endorsement and job offers galore because of this whole episode, and let us not forget we are talking about a beauty contest. 

Where beauty is concerned - the beauty that matters - Ms. Talackova most certainly bested her former Miss Universe rivals by a mile long before she corrected her genital issue.  Getting to where she is involved far more than anorexia, tanning booths, and lessons in “decorum.”  She had to possess a deep inner strength unlike any most will ever have to exhibit.  She had the will to fight to be the person on the outside she knew was inside.  "It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rivals... [opens eyes and puts down hair brush]... oh, sorry.  Where was I?"  She did not get to start out as the pretty girl; she had to earn it.  And she has certainly arrived.

I do not think that Ms. Talackova should be barred from competition based on her sex at birth any more than I believe she was ever truly a boy.  But I also do not believe this is the kind of fight that will bring about real reform in the war for trans equality.  Let us choose our battles wisely.  After all, there are far greater injustices going on around us; injustices that deserve the label “a trans woman’s plight.”  I vote we take a look at some of those.  I vote we stand up for the girl who does not have the gift of outer beauty, the girl who really cannot get a job, or the girl who “deserved” to be bullied for her “queer appearance.”  She needs our help far more than does a burgeoning super model.

Peace, my loves!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Am Sorry, The Duchess Has Lost Her Muse

Greetings friends,

I have absolutely nothing to share with you tonight, in part because since starting my new job, virtually nothing has happened... other than getting up in the morning, driving to an office, sitting at a desk in a graveyard of cubicles for the entirety of "normal business hours," then driving back home to try to squeeze some small element of life out of the few remaining hours in my day.  To think, if I had a normal commute, I would never see daylight.  Thankfully, my drive consumes all of about five minutes.  None of that is good.  But the bigger problem is that I feel absolutely no creative energy in me right now.

I think my artistic lethargy is primarily a symptom of the mental drain of learning this new job.  I hope that is the case.  With time, I hope that I can return to a slightly more regular (and more interesting) writing habit.  For now, know that I am surviving.  Transition is still happening, albeit much more slowly.  I will be alright.  The train has not derailed; there are just a few cows on the tracks... and possibly a bullfrog.  I thought I heard croaking.

Good night loves.  Write to me... or about me... or for me.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Difficult Choices

It is ironic how a person can live over four decades and with each successive year be less certain about her future.  Frankly, the questions about what I am going to be when I grow up are a little out of season now; I think it is time to start making some hard choices.  Oh, let me pause.  This is not a transition post friends, do not panic –put down your torches!  My life is muddled with half-lived dreams and unrealized passions.  It is time to start weeding my garden.

I have always been a very creative girl: artistic, musical, a good eye for color, and a strong sense of harmony – natural and musical.  My life used to flow on a rhythmical current, and my gifts were many, and they manifested easily.  I could write poetry and music, I could make (reasonably) beautiful music on my violin, I could draw and even paint, and it all came straight from my heart.  That is just not true any more.  On the rare occasions my gifts peak to the surface, they are squelched by a cacophony of discordant influences – not the least of which is my own eroding attention span.  I do not have the luxury of creative expression.  I have the illusion of an eclectic music studio that is inexplicably littered by random shit that exudes from a pit of repugnant filth.

And that is on a clean day.

The truth is that I very rarely choose, willingly, to climb the stairs to my instruments these days.  On the very rare occasions when the motivation overwhelms me, I even more rarely manage to actually play for more than a few minutes.  Between the alien feel of my conquered pets – I no longer even know how my primary synth will start, it has been so mangled – and just the general discomfort I feel at being in that space; my resolve is quickly defeated.  The sad truth is I will not win this battle without losing a greater war.

So there it is.  Time to hit the factory reset on my devices, box them up, and sell them off to the bidder with the most grandiose dreams.  It will be hard to part with some of them, but I think it is probably best.  So, very soon, I will attempt to post a list of the various treasures I have decided to relinquish.  If you are interested in providing a good home and tender attention… and the right dollar figure, of course… my beauties may become yours.

Among the list will be two Yamaha synths (one 88 key stage model and one vintage that needs work), a Korg analog rack synth (plus midi interfaces), a gorgeous Ibanez 5-string wood grain bass guitar with a Yamaha stack (I believe 500 watts), a 6 string acoustic Takamimi knock-off with soft shell case, a cello with all the trimmings barely ever touched, a number of miscellaneous devices – Sennheiser studio mic, various stands, a PA speaker system with effects (400 watt), a slew of cables and stuff, and one final piece.  This is the one that will be hardest to let go.  My violin is a German made instrument built in the early 1920’s.  It is beautiful, if travel worn, but it needs to be played to once again find the warmth and beauty that used to blossom from its strings.  The violin itself will not go cheaply, but I will include the few accessory items I still have for it (most of them were picked up in a pinch, so you’ll need to invest in things like a good bow… not the fiberglass thing that replaced my octagonal stick pernambucco wood bow, which I snapped over a music stand twenty years ago).

This will not be easy, my friends, but it is time to face the reality that my musical dreams evaporated eons ago, and the desire that remains is not strong enough to fight for the freedom to express it.  I have made my decision.

Garage sale at Katgirl’s Lair… coming soon!

Peace and stuff,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Momentary Lapse of Raisin

Greetings dear readers, I have very little to share tonight, except to let everyone know that I did, in fact, get the job.  Yes, Katgirl is a working girl again [cue: banners, ticker tape parade, and book signing].  My groove is completely thrown.  It is good; do not misunderstand.  But I forgot what it was like to be new at a job.  It has only been over a dozen years since the last time I made a career change, after all.

I really do not want to share much tonight, friends.  I am not in a good place.  It will pass, and it has nothing to do with the new job – well, not directly.  I will be honest; I am scared.  I feel alone, and I feel like I just inadvertently pressed a great big pause button on my transition.  Again, I know it is a temporary… and a necessary diversion, but wow.  Having a few weeks (even if I spent half of them in bed with the plague, half of them realizing what an inconvenience my birthday was for everyone, and the other half – a little Yogi Berra for my friends, you like? – actually enjoying being a housewife) to really feel what life was going to be like for Kate when all the pretense was finally over might not have been the best thing for my short term happiness.

Having the time to be myself, to never hide behind a male mask, and to never have to think about how I would cover something during the week (my bright purple fingernails, for example… have I mentioned that purple is my favorite color?  I love all the ways it rhymes with other things... just like me.) was the most amazing experience.  Being able to shed the male crap completely was so incredibly freeing.  Even for just a few weeks, the experience was enough to convince me of the rightness of my choice.  Stop it; I am not being careless with my words.  I am a woman who was born with a physical deformity.  Others patterned my life around that deformity.  I chose to fix it.  I did not choose whom I am or how I was born, but I am choosing how to live my life.  Sorry, back on my original soapbox: having the opportunity to live correctly was a complete affirmation.  But that affirmation brought consequence.  Is anyone writing this down?  It would make a great musical... Mr. Sondheim?

I have to figure out how to get through the next few months without losing myself in my male mask (or more accurately, without losing hope while wearing my male mask).  Worse, I have to figure out how to do that while having no flexibility to engage the resources that are helping me to shed that mask forever.  I mean that my work schedule occupies the entirety of normal business hours – the hours during which most of the many services I require to continue working toward my correct life are available to me.  I forfeited the flexibility that my old job afforded (not because of the people I worked for, but because of their general incompetence).  I have to figure that out.  So it is a good news, bad news situation. 

The good news is that my career change afforded me the financial freedom to pursue my correct life – including all the funds I need to make the first surgical leap (FFS).  The bad news is that my career change usurped my free hours – the hours I need to affect my permanent transition.  So, what the hell is a girl to do?

Okay, sorry folks.  I said I had very little to share, but I sure did type a bunch.  Still, I think I probably succeeded in sharing very little.  Weird, well, with luck I will have my groove back someday soon.  I miss it.

Peace, my friends.