Through the Gateway: Promulgating Change

 I was looking back and reviewing the recent Laverne Cox cover on the upcoming issue of Time Magazine and in awe of this as a yet another marker of how far we have come in transgender issues within even the past year.  We are finding, as transgender individuals, increased visibility within the greater world from all that we are doing.... each and every one of us who proudly herald and proclaim our own sense of self.  The people we touch, whether it be one or one hundred thousand, makes little difference.... because together we ARE bringing light to where there was once only myth, fable and darkness. 

I see Laverne Cox as one of a select few individuals who are as I would call as "keystones" in a gateway to understanding.  She, like many of the popular transgender role models today, fit easily into the "gender binary box".  This is to say that they fit with physical characteristics into either a very male or very female box.  Many of our transgender role models today seem to fit nicely into the visually accepted male or female "box".  Society may not be ready, just yet, to break beyond this.  To me it is a bit disappointing to know that if a person does not possess all of the physical characteristics visually of the gender they know they feel inside, then the validity as perceived by the general world around us somehow and often suddenly comes into question.  I would, for instance, like to see a gender queer person on the cover of Time Magazine but I know the time is not quite right just now for that....but I guarantee that this day will come as society evolves to understand through the help of such "gateway" individuals.

These are thoughts which I have come to consider in my own travels upon the road of life thus far.  The looks and reactions, for instance, of a person who thought I was a natal woman until some moment when a tell tale sign lead them to a revelation of something much, much larger is just amazing.  It is a personal evolution that I witness, time and time again, with almost every person I meet.  It's that wide-eyed look and the look of amazement that I have somehow, in a wonderfully miraculous way, shattered their preconceptions and their misconceptions of a transgender person.

There are certain qualities which go beyond the physical which those who come to know me find to be so transcendent.  Perhaps it is in an open and affirming stance, a willingness to listen and an eagerness to take interest in knowing another and in lauding their own values and their own station in life that is perhaps helpful.

No matter what the recipe seems to be, my way of socializing does seem to be inherently innate.  To be transgender as well simply adds a whole new dimension to allow an individual who comes to know me as a genuine person to also come to realize that being transgender doesn't detract from who I am as a person.  If anything, the revelation of discovery that I am transgender, I have found,  just seems to add a whole new dimension of passive learning simply through their association with me.

That's a huge gift package NOT to use and it's one that I am finding to be an ice breaker of preconceived prejudices and stereotypes of what a transgender person is not and who we really are as people.  So.... I'm out as far and as much as people feel comfortable to want to know about me, within reason of course. I don't talk about plumbing and the physical arrangements, because if they do ask, my response will be that it is non-sequitur to our casual associative acquaintance, just as we do not ask our co-workers and casual friends such personal questions either;  But then I've never had the question of plumbing come up either....ever.  That possibility only exists in my own imagination to date thus far.

I recently was at a local watering hole on a Friday Night.  I often will show up there on those Friday's when they have live entertainment.  I arrived early and my friend, a GG woman, called to let me know she would not be there for another hour or more because of her attendance to her mother's care at home.  I made my self as comfortable as I could in a very crowded and very noisy bar as I sipped my glass of wine and exchanged pleasantries with the bar staff while having a sandwich for dinner.

There was only one open seat just to my left and the owner of the establishment came by and saw me sitting alone, relaxing and just chilling out, my seat swiveled outward onto the many occupied tables and beyond to the band that was playing in the far alcove.  He came right up and sat right down next to me.  We've known each other casually at that bar for years and we always exchanged in some level of small-talk to some degree.  Tonight though was different.  Since he is a pilot and I have work experience in the FAA and in meteorology, we were very quickly, over the din of the music, discussing weather patterns, bombogenesis of storms, relationships of weather to oceanic currents and thermal gradients and much more.

At some point, the conversation shifted and the owner mentioned how he has enjoyed talking to me over the years about such diverse subjects and that he considered me not only an intelligent and articulate individual, but also as he said, "a good person".   That was quite a compliment embedded within those few words.  I reaffirmed his sentiments and added that I considered myself to be a person of scientific principle; a person who felt that all things had quantifiable basis and that everything, if we looked deep enough, could be explained
I thanked him and added that I have always tried to understand the world around me and to explain it in logical means.  I further opened the door by stating that this included garnering an understanding of my own sense of self.  He took the crack in the door I provided and asked me politely if it would not be too much to chat about it sometime under quieter circumstances.  I of course said that I did not find it intrusive and that I respected him in his affirming response to me that he was simply trying to learn more.

I am cognizant of when a person is wanting to learn because of their desire to achieve the same sort of understanding I have to come to know for myself, about myself.  I also realize that the average person who is not gender variant by nature will have many more challenges, simply by virtue of their lack of perspective and an inability to grasp at the concept and fully materialize it.  I see this as an opportunity to be open and to dispel myth from mythology and to replace misconception with actualities.  It is not an opportunity nor a reason for me to say, "This is none of your business" least for me.  This is a huge opportunity for me to be able to integrate closely enough with others and to be able to weave in a level of comprehension and of learning that can, in small ways, make HUGE differences.  I see this as well within so many of us who are blessed as transgender and I can envision such an amazing potential.

"Passive learning, through a person's own ability to come to a conclusion, will trump each and every time the achievements which one may try to achieve through lecture, rhetoric and simply demanding.  Prove who you are as a person and most people will naturally come to see what is real and what they held prior to be an intangible illusion of myth and fear."

I believe we all have the ability to become advocates, like Laverne Cox, of our own worlds and the people who surround us in our own lives.  Whether it is one person or one hundred thousand, we each have the power together to achieve great strides in our society.  The gender continuum is an amazing thing and I am proud to know the many people in my life who take up their own place in residence upon any number of points along its infinite expanse in either direction.  We each bring our own uniqueness to the world and our own nuance of color to the mosaic of humanity.  If we only touch one life even in the process, we yet still touch many more in so doing.  One person touched by our journey is a messenger to many others and so we touch, indirectly, a plethora of people in each person in the process.

The gateway is opening and we are seeing the first well known notes of a yet unheard symphony of humanity just beginning to be played.  There is, yet to be heard, the full orchestral movement; the "tour de force"  yet to come.  But the gateway is open and people are beginning to see what once was behind the shrouded veil.  There is much more to come.....the music has only just started.


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