Thursday, November 12, 2009

I just write about what I should have done...

Today, I fail.

So, you know how I'm an "ally-advocate of the transgender community"? Today I fell flat.

Last week I mentioned I'm doing some warehouse work at the moment. The atmosphere is pretty blue-collar. It's fun. It's physical. I like it. Today I was in the break room when I heard some faint mention of surgeries. Somebody was talking about a newspaper article they were reading. I couldn't really hear.

What I did hear was the matronly receptionist say, "If God wanted him to be a woman, God would have made him a woman."

Wow! Trans advocates thrive on statements like that. What a great opening! Like throwing open a huge, heavy door leading into a world the warehouse never enters. I should have been enthralled.

My job as an ally-advocate was clear: I should have engaged the receptionist and other workers in an enlightened conversation on what it means to be a transwoman--how she feels about herself internally, how she must feel about her body to undergo multiple surgeries. I share my opinions. They share theirs. A dynamic exchange. We learn from each other.

That's not how it went down.

Instead of doing my duty as an advocate by saying something, I failed myself and the community by saying nothing. I could offer a hundred rationalizations, but it's not worth my time in writing out excuses or your time in reading them. I'm also going to try very hard not to beat myself up about it. I failed. We all do at some time or other. I'll learn from my inaction. I hope.

But I never finished my story, did I? As this matronly receptionist expressed her opinion regarding God and SRS, she walked by me. I must have reacted. Somehow. It must have been in my face. In my furtive glance in her direction. The rush of colour to my cheeks. I didn't agree.

The receptionist followed up her initial statement with, "Well, that's just how I see it. I could be wrong. What do I know?" Then she made me a cup of tea.

I'm reminded of ani difranco lyrics. How typically lesbian, am I right?
i just write about
what i should have done
i just sing
what i wish i could say
and hope somewhere
some woman hears my music
and it helps her through her day

~ani difranco
from "i'm no heroine"

And, all you fellow failing, flailing, and soaring advocates out there, I welcome your input. How would you have responded to this scenario? This is not a test. *smile* We learn from each other.

Much love (after a ten and a half hour shift!),
Giselle Renarde


  1. Sweet says:

    "oh well .. we all cant be the "lone ranger" all the time .. we all have moments that belong strictly to US and not to any cause or anything .."

    Awww, thanks babe!

    She's called "Sweet" for a reason. See what a doll I got me? *smile*


  2. If only we lived in a world where we could all truly be ourselves and not have to defend that. It should be our right. Wait, it is our right, isn't it?

    Would you, could you have changed her mind? Probably not. Tolerance and understanding is taught. It may take many generations for prejudice in all its forms to go away.