Tuesday, June 26, 2007

more thoughts on Pride

and a few more pictures!

Pride was really a good time, discounting the hot/sweaty/waiting around two hours for us to have our turn to start marching parts. Once we got going, it was real nice to be a part of something so big, and filled with such positive energy. Everyone watching was smiling and cheering, and we spent lots of time waving to the crowd, and getting waves back.

I've mentioned before a feeling of growing apart from the Transmasculine community, like it's not something that I feel such a strong desire to be a part of, as most clearly evidenced by my tapering off and then disappearing attendance at the Group run by the Center. Marching in Pride, though, seems to clarify my feelings about being part of the community.

I want to be part of the community in the sense of sometimes attending big events, and feeling pride in my queer/trans identity, and helping to support folks by going to film festivals and suchlike, and participating in activism/outreach by being on panels or helping with mentoring programs, or what have you. I don't want to be a part of "the community" in the stock sense of the word that tends to homogenize more than anything else. I don't have the angst or the patience to be a part of a support group right now, in part because my transition is becoming a different aspect of my life now (a more personal one), and in part because I don't have the sensibilities to be part of a "bonding with my tranny brothers" mentality. A lot of my friends are trans, and a big part of my social world is the queer/trans scene in the City. But I really am resistant to the idea that I'm in an automatic brotherhood with all the other dudes with vaginas in this world because quite frankly, I can't stand a lot of them.

My friends are the people that I connect with and bond with, and lots of them are transdudes also because we connect on that point- but oh man, I'm tired of the notion (coming from inside the community and out) that transmasculine folks are all the same, and so are automatically buddies.

Anyway. I had a great time at Pride, marching with a lot of great people. It felt good to connect with all sorts of transmasculine folks on that level, of being part of the TMC Network, and marching in solidarity with each other. And part of what was so great about it was limiting the interaction to that particular venue.

Other thoughts...there was a fellow running around with a video camera interviewing folks, and he talked to some people in our group about what TMC Network is. Then he asked Kate about her shirt, and I asked him who he was...at which point he assured me that he'd done all sorts of video interviews with all sorts of people, including "some lesbian women who say that transgenders make the perfect man! What do you have to say about that, considering that you don't, uh, don't necessarily look like you're one of the transgenders?"

I paraphrase, but it was something along those lines...well meaning, but definitely a bombshell that I didn't feel inclined to touch. I did what is generally known as "sticking to your talking points" and said something about how glad I was to be a part of the TMC Network, it's a great social and political organization, I was very glad to be visible and part of the parade."

He accepted that and wandered off to interview someone else, fortunately, since I didn't know quite what else to say. I wasn't going to get into my views on tranny-chasing (though I have had some interesting thoughts about that lately...fodder for another post, I suppose), and I didn't know quite how to react to his rather blunt assessment of my passing privilege.

I did of course feel a tiny swell of pride- he meant it as a compliment, of course, and I couldn't help but take it as one, even as I was aware of the lousy assumptions built into the foundation of that compliment. I know my flat chest/fuzzy face/5'8" stature lets me break ranks with a lot of other trans dudes and I'm grateful for it even as I'm frustrated by it, and anxious about being complicit with the binary gender system. Not sure how to convey those complex feelings in a Pride March soundbite, that's for certain.


Speaking of fuzzy face, I'm two weeks in to my beard growing experiment, and I realized that I don't have enough experience with beard growth to know whether mine looks sparse because I'm too young (facial hair wise) to get anything good, or because all beards look kinda sparse their first few weeks in existence. No one has told me I look stupid, though, and I trust my friends/family to be honest with me and let me know if I really need to bust out the razor. My plan is to grow it out til it comes time to head back to Portland to visit the extended family in two weeks, at which point I'll try to make as objective an assessment as possible to determine whether it'll impress my relatives or make them chuckle.

1 comment:

leander said...

You look great, Eli. (And you have may more beard-growing potential than I!) I'm excited to hear you'll be in Portland soon, since I will be, too. I'd love to see you again.

As always, I love hearing your thoughts! Happy Pride!!