an article by e.
translation by elena.
no justification, but overcoming the inability to speek.
a brave and angry description of an image (date: sometime 2014) of a self-perception as trans* and parent that i fought for
i am trans*parent
i am trans* and a parent for my kid = trans*parent
i have the urge to write about myself, because i don’t know any other people that live under the same circumstances as i do.
if i had to describe myself i would first talk about my identification process surrounding my gender identity, my body and my place within the relation to my child and my friends. Then i would add all the attributes that are self-determined, constructed, determined by others who create layers that form an image of me. a complex image. an image that i can’t describe here as a whole, which i wouldn’t want anyway but is constantly in my mind during my writing process. a confused, queer image.
do i identify as trans*gender or genderqueer? i don’t want to settle in either of those and define myself – or at least not for ever. This is one of many reasons why i have a hard time ‘coming out’. I’m afraid to be labeled with a certain role and all its clichés by my social environment (“non-returnable and no power over my identification”), to get a set place in the catalogue in their head and endure their looks full of sympathy, fear or hate.
but i also get a headache from the fear i have around people and environments, where I’m already out, because of what they could see through their transphobic glasses that they were trained to wear and that i sometimes where myself when i look at me. i have learned that people like me are ‘gross’ and a lot of other things that i don’t want to repeat here for their triggering effect.
sometimes i live in a phase of neglect, but this is impossible to keep up for a long time. sometimes ‘trans’ is part of my thoughts every second of my day to day life, as a constant roller coaster, i never stop thinking about who i am.
i sometimes go overboard with this, when i paint my whole chest with black acryl colour or when i write ‘who am I?’ on my forearms in big letters.
adding to that i have been a parent for more or less than a year now. the parent that brought the kid ‘to life’ – a minimising description of the work and pain that i went through.
others would call themselves ‘mom’ but i use my first name. i am very happy with my kid, who i love a lot. i am very happy with my best friend, others would say „boyfriend“, the ‘dad’ of our child, who i love a lot. i am also happy with my friends and the dog, that are part of my family and that i love a lot (this is not a hierarchy)
this being-a-parent brings some huge contradictions and conflicts to me being trans* and the perception of my body.
i experienced breastfeeding as a moment of distress, because of the gendered perspective it has in society and the (real life) gaze on my gendered body.
breastfeeding means exposing my chest (i don’t have any words for what that means for me) and an unwanted state of dependence within my family
breastfeeding is a recurring triggering moment for me because of the made up and unquestioned (and therefore almost unbreakable) connection between breasts and femininity.
Therefore i stopped breastfeeding, which is something i have to and had to justify myself for in this society all the time.
since I’m a parent a lot of people think they have the right – no even the duty – and responsability to interfere in my life
and there are so many aspects in the context of being a parent, where my perception of gender and the mainstreams perception clash. after all i also find the pre- and postnatal gender assignment of my child problematic.
do i confine my kid in ‘his’ development potential if i refer to ‘him’ according to ‘his’ assigned gender as ‘male’?
the outside world would destroy ‘him’ if i would raise ‘him’ with my understanding of gender, against the heteronormative world order. like it destroyed me.
i am walking against walls in these forced gender order.
nevertheless i sometimes find walls that i can tear down or walls that have been torn down before me or (protective) walls, that i build myself – ways, gapes and compromises.
what i want to show the world of my self is my decision. however this decision has consequences for my kid, me and our family.
before becoming a parent i never thought i would or could or had to live ‘out’ in the open.
honestly, i can’t even imagine living openly in this society: how much pain and how little acceptance and appreciation would follow an outing. too scared of what others would think.
but i can’t live a ‘hidden’ life if i want to show my kid that i am discriminated against for no reason.
i don’t want that ‘him’ to learn that being trans* means having a secret. i don’t want to accept society’s rule through my reactions and decisions.
i want ‘him’ to understand, that what i do is a fight for him and me and us.
i want to give ‘him’ all the instruments ‘he’ needs to reflect and decide who ‘he’ is.
and yes I’m afraid that my decision (that i am also making for ‘him’) to live more in the open will have consequences that i can’t control and that could lead to ‘him’ being discriminated against or denied appreciation.
if i let my perception of the world be part of our relationship, people will eye us even more.
those coltish accusation that i have to face make me brave-angry: is it not manipulation if a kid is forced to correspond to a gender category by a fixed set of characteristics, behaviours and expectations?
i think that it would be a lot harder to explain my trans* identity to my kid if i would reinforce societies stereotypes by living a hidden life. i can’t build up a facade without risking ‘his’ love and trust in me and if i want to give ‘him’ everything ‘he’ needs to lead a self-determined life.
i can’t keep up a facade infront of the world if that means that ‘he’ would have to play along and bare the weight of societies norms with me.
so there is little choice for me other than living an open life, to be transparent. the range of this openness is something i decide together with my kid and my family.
being out means giving people a target for attack. but it also means that i fight against those who want to deny us the right to life and love and to fight for the ones that i love.
i live trans*parent.