Pride 2010 Aftermath Day 2

Posted: 08/19/2010 in Queer
Tags: , , ,

Yeah, it’s been over for a while now. I hydrated on day one, so I was coherent enough to blog before noon which pretty much never happens no matter how sober I am. Day Two not only saw a lack of hydrating but a fatal drinking mistake that saw me chug probably six ounces of vodka in one go. Don’t do that. It doesn’t end well. Waking up with barely enough time to clap a hand over your mouth and lurch to the toilet before your gag reflex wins the battle is not a good time ever. That’s not really a good reason for waiting two and a half weeks to keep writing, but it’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Day Two was by no means a wild party. It was by all accounts the tamest and quietest. It was my friend’s second annual Pride party, held the night before the parade. There was four of us this year, which was fine. It was really more of an intimate geek get together than an explicitly Pride branded or oriented event which really contributed to my sense afterwards that this year was the most complete experience of it that I’ve had so far and could really ask for.

The only truly interesting thing about the evening was how my change in identity over the last year altered the dynamic. I arrived early to help the host- my good friend and fellow blogger Lucas Johnson- prepare rainbow vodka shots made by soaking skittles in the stuff and then filtering out the scummy film that invariably appears on top. The vodka I brought with me wasn’t enough for the expected amount of guests so we darted down to the nearby liquor store to grab more. Although I’m getting better, I’m not very comfortable about venturing beyond Safe Spaces while en femme. While my father has pointed out the different ways of interpreting it, Vancouver still does have the highest incidences of hate crimes in the country and a couple high profile ones occurred recently within Davie Village. I am by no means a meek individual, but hate crimes are perpetuated by cowards who will strike unannounced at your blind side or in a moment of vulnerability. I’m a great deal more safety conscious when I’m en femme and follow the behaviours that they teach in women’s self defense courses like having your keys out and ready when you get to the door and so on.

I didn’t think Luke would stop to think about it because he’d known me in the halcyon days of my ill fitting cisgenderhood, but as it turned out he did. The strangest thing about identifying as a transwoman is that in some contexts I’ve gone from the protector to the protected. I’m used to defending my queer friends both physically and verbally, but now it’s them who are assessing my comfort level and standing at the ready to deploy some choice words to errant transphobes. The last thing I want to do is compromise a friend’s good time, so I laced up and went along. When we came through the door I overheard a snide remark wondering if I was male or female. I set my shoulders and went about my business, without so much as a look behind me because I had no interest in rising to his bait. Luke did and was keeping an eye on him while I perused the coolers.

Later on that night was the first opportunity everyone had to broach the subject of my gender identity without feeling any (self imposed) insensitivity so a long conversation about trans issues and the nature of gender. I may consider myself an activist, a gender warrior, and a lot of other things but I’m also pragmatic. I don’t like using the term “educate” a lot because I’m starting to see it used a lot with a condescending tone. I am no greater of a creature for stepping outside the bounds of heteronormativity and researching the issues, academia, and terminology that go along with it. People act out of accidental ignorance all the time, it’s a pretty large feature of the landscape when you live in a white washed media driven patriarchy. Thus I’m open to discussion and enlightenment in any situation that isn’t created by deliberate ignorance, but there’s never that wagging finger. Reducing the unenlightened to a caricature in any way is both hypocritical and counterproductive. While I obviously take my position as an advocate and ambassador for all things queer seriously, I also won’t back down from confronting deliberate ignorance. It’s really not hard to parse the two, and every time you treat the former as the latter, you lose a potential ally. We all want dignity and respect, and yeah it sucks that we’re going to have to work at least twice as hard to get either but if you want to be part of the solution rather than exacerbating the problem you either have to rise above or shut the fuck up.

There were a couple opportunities for confrontation later that night, when I could have easily acted like my feelings were hurt but there really was never any intelligence in doing that. Instead of taking a defensive stance, I took the time to explain my perspective and how I came to identify the way that I do. People will never understand you or see things your way unless you let them in and give them an opportunity to understand. From there it’s their choice to take the next step.

I also try my best to have fun with it because as a friend once said, “identity is play.” It’s tough sometimes, sure. I don’t really like watching my blood spiral down the shower drain because I got frustrated shaving my legs again and my gut clenches every time someone makes assumptions based on my sex, but that’s not how I define my reality. If a woman is truly what I am, then living that should be the most natural and amazing thing I could do, and it is. Which means that I can laugh, joke, and poke fun at myself about it. If you’re asking me from a genuine place, you can ask me anything.

  1. catmaier says:

    Glad you had fun and have such supportive friends, baby. :3

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