I don’t want this site to be solely about being transgender. From my experiences so far, it’s not even something I could write about every week – being in the closet is far more intense and frustrating and writeable. However, there are moments when things happen, unique to trans people. I’d like to share those moments with you, and let you into the mystery.
Saturday afternoon 27.04.19
Enough with marking papers. Enough about conferences. Outside is a blue sky. There's a book shop nearby, my temple, its owners are trying to remove stickers of transphobic messages pasted on their door.
Yesterday I met a guy who'd been set upon by a group of 17-year-olds. He still had the scars, and the trauma. They saw him with his boyfriend, and they were drunk. Apparently it's the warm weather: young men go to shops and buy booze. Note to self: be afraid of sunlight. God help us when Global Warming kicks in for real.
Of course Edinburgh was never perfect, but with an international transgender conference at the end of May, these separate acts remind me to remind our visitors to be careful. In the meantime, I look at my adopted city, like a newly wed sitting across the table to the lover I thought I knew, who has just spoken out of turn to me, in a way I'd never expected. They keep eating; but now I'm watching them like I never did before, wondering: did that just happen? Did they just say that? Is this real? How do I exit this? my safe space no longer quite as safe.
Sunday morning 28.04.19
The air is warm from my moving castle, which rocks and staggers gamely, steam exhaling in chuffs and groans. My moving castle where no one can touch me unless I choose for it to happen.
Looking into twitter on a Sunday morning is like glimpsing into a crystal ball, to see distortions of strong emotions, as my transgender species – shapeshifters, if you like – are hunted down by angry witches and newspaper tyrants. Whose turn, I wonder, was it today to cast insinuations against my kind with a handful of bones tossed across a pentangle?
I didn't go home for Easter. I stayed here in my moving castle, reading Anzaldua, who said I am a turtle, where I go I carry home on my back. Also, in defiance, Anzaldua gave priority to her right to exist over places where her identity isn't welcome, don't give me your tenets and your laws . . . I want the freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own gods out of my entrails.
I turn the dial within my moving castle. I'm back in Edinburgh. Mist has given way to yellow heather on the hillside. The smell of burning asphalt is coming through the window of my silent city lair, joined occasionally by the choking screech of gulls. I cast a scarf over my twittered crystal ball and decide it's time to find better things to do. It's a beautiful Sunday morning and I will listen to Metallica and their probably inappropriate but strangely prescient Am I Evil?, enjoying its fuck-you attitude on this gentlest of day of the week. The yellow heather outside trembles slightly in the wind, and Kirk Hammett's guitar solo is a six-string orgasm.
It is three years almost to the day since I came out as trans. Now I occupy this form entirely, a happy hunted shapeshifter disappearing into forests while creaking hunters stagger fearfully and hatefully, chasing shadows, pasting stickers, jumping at the slightest sounds of nature, a gentle brook that might be an avalanche, a broken twig that may just be a human bone; they look for something to play target practice with, they look for something that isn't there. Having watched them from the shadow of trees for long enough, I re-enter my safe space, turn the dial and disappear.
Images from www.chapter.org + the window of my office