22 January 2009

Gender Studies Is For Faggots; Why's a White Tranny Woman Teaching Hip-Hop?

Don't ask how we got on the subject. But Dominick asked an interesting question: Since I began living as Justine, have I ever entered a men's bathroom by mistake.?

Actually, I haven't. I can confidently say that because if I did, I'd probably remember even though I wouldn't want to. Ironically enough, I can recall times when I accidentally (Yes, I'm telling you the truth!) entered women's bathrooms while I was in boy-drag. Some might argue that my subconscious was guiding me; I wouldn't argue. However, bathrooms for either gender, or both genders, never had any great appeal to me. Why would anyone want to be amid the filth and smell of most bathrooms for any other reason than to do what one needs to do? I mean, I never saw the appeal of "peeping" or having sex in bathrooms.

So what have I "accidentally"done since beginning my transition? Well, early in my life as Justine, I signed documents (including a newly-issued ATM card) and answered the telephone with my old name. Then again, I've always had lapses: I now recall the time early in my sobriety when I signed up for a workshop and gave a telephone number I hadn't had since I was twelve years old. Funny, I can recall it now: 212-435-0470. However, that number--or whatever phone number is assigned to that house--begins with "718" instead of "212" becuase it's in Brooklyn.

Wow! That alone is enough to date me: I can remember when all five boroughs of New York City used the "212" area code.

Anyway...Now that I think of it, I haven't really had many instances of gender spasmosis, if you will. At least not in logistical matters, anyway. But I've found myself lapsing into old ways
of thought and expression, and of acting on attitudes I'd absorbed, as Nick, by osmosis.

Why don't I want to teach that course called "The Poetics and Rhetoric of Hip-Hop?" Well, for one thing, I got into it accidentally. (No, I'm not one of those people who thinks everything happens for a reason.) But more important, I'm exactly what some hip-hoppers despise: I'm a white professional and I'm a woman. But not just any bitch or 'ho: I'm one who used to be a dude, at least on the outside.

Now, I know that not all hip-hop expresses misogyny or homophobia. And hateful ideas don't necessarily make for bad art. (cf. Pound, Celine and goddess-knows-how-many-others) However, knowing that a number of rappers have expressed their disdain or outright disgust for me and my sisters, it's still odd for me to be the one who will not only present the music, but also help students build bridges between it and all those books written by dead white men and taught to me by old white men who are most likely, by now, dead white men.

Oh...So that's why I'm having trouble getting published? I'm not a dead white man. Nor will I ever be. Instead, one day, I'll be a dead white woman. Or tranny-girl.

So I'm all wrong for that course I've designed. That means I'm also wrong for the course I planned to take: Literature, Gender and Sexuality. I've always been wary of gender studies. I don't want to be just another LGBT person with a certificate or degree in gender studies. For one thing, I suspect it would close many more doors than it would open. Haven't you heard: Gender Studies is for faggots. The latter term doesn' t necessarily gay or effeminate men. Instead, it means people, usually men, who wimp out on commitments, or who just generally shrink away from life.

All of this could lead me to what I've been avoiding for so long: becoming a scholar, becoming the enemy, accidentally. I already feel as if I've become one of them, though I'm still not convinced that I could do much in the way of theoretical work.

Yet everyone tells me I'm going to do fine. I must be absolutely amazing and fabulous if I can inspire that kind of confidence when I'm abut to do things for which I have absolutely no aptitude, inclinaton or desire.

So what would I be doing in a class for faggots or about people who despise them? It's a matter of pure, dumb luck.

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