What you are should not have much to do with who you are and that is an unpopular opinion. I grew up like any countrified human with a big secret. I was a woman trapped in a man’s body. I was a man who was attracted to other men. Society’s oppression of what I should be compared to what I really was made these secrets a spotlight issue in my life.
Like many other people of my sexual and gender orientations I dwelled on it so much that it became a need to let the world know. After escaping the confines of my restricted rearing and entering adulthood in The Big City, USA, I let the world around me know. I was Out in my daily life. I was Out at my job. At corporate functions and offline shindigs I swished about fabulously and introduced my husband to the crowds.
It wasn’t until years after living The Out Life that I began to develop a frustration with how people viewed me in their circles. What I was seemed to be overshadowing who I was. You see, what I am is a human being born in America, I fall in lust with the same sex and my gender is skewed. Who I am is an Artist. I am a writer, painter, columnist, raconteur and provocateur. Who I am is not gay. Who I am does not include what I am. What I am is what I am, the basic biological happenstance of mind and body.
I realize that we could argue the meaning of what and who until dawn. What I think of as what a person is and what you think of who a person is could be the opposite or the same. But perhaps that’s the bottom line! I think too many people think their natural scientific orientation and preferences is the headliner of both who and what.
Several years ago I found myself withdrawing back into what they call The Closet. I found myself at the same functions and soirees no longer introducing my husband or eluding in any way that I may be gay, transgender, transsexual, queer or anything of the like. I left my husband at home where he wanted to be and chose instead to talk about who I really am in ways of what I do. At first this felt stifling. It was as if I was neglecting or hiding a part of me. Then I began to feel loved for the reasons I always wanted to be loved.
Too many people put their biological business at the top of the resume. She is Transgender with a capital T and she is also a scientist. No, no, Nanette! She is a Scientist with a capital S and she happens to be transgender. I am an Artist and I happen to be gay. You are all of the things you wanted to be when you grew up and you just so happen to quite possibly be genetically different than some other majorities claim to be.
It’s society’s fault that we are the way we are. They made what should have been a footnote into what has to be a headline. Instead of making you wish you were a scientist they made you wish you were a girl. They made that your focus. When all along you should have been casually accepted as a girl and be a scientist.
I would love to be having a casual conversation with a colleague or a complete stranger and mention that I, a man with trans tendencies, have a boyfriend. The other person would not comment on it out of context and we’d continue talking about whatever we were talking about that lead to me even mentioning such a thing. Instead of today’s world where I may say I have a boyfriend and that leads to gasps, pats on the back and endless discussion of how much they accept my choices.
That’s when I realized something was wrong. When my paintings got a passing glance and a casual round of applause, yet my sexual orientation roused the masses into passionate support and debate! It should have been the other way around.
Somewhere in our quest for rights and public acceptance it became the all encompassing headline and replaced the meaning of who a person is. Who is he? He is a Doctor. Who is she? She is a poet. These are the things you hear in a normal world and that’s all I ever wanted for my world. I for one am sick of the misguided focus. I retreated to the closet the minute I saw my genetics were more important to people than my chosen career in the arts.
It’s a human yearning to be loved for our genetics, because it’s the basis of our being. But it should be an even stronger yearning to be loved for our talents. That is the flip flop I cannot cope with. He is a talented individual who just happens to be genetically different than I personally know. My talents being the headliner. My genetics being the footnote.