28 July 2010

Invisible In The Same Fight?

This is a first for me:  I haven't posted on this blog for four days.  The bike ride (which you can read about in my other blog, Mid-Life Cycling) is part of the reason why:  I focused on that, and on cycling generally.  

But something else is going on.  You might say that now there's less to write about my transition, or my gender identity generally.  Frankly, I simply don't find myself thinking about it much unless someone brings it up in conversation.  That's probably a good sign.  At least, I'm happy about it:  I don't want to spend all of my time thinking and talking about it.   And why should I, really?  After all, I just took a bike trip and even when I was grungy and sweaty, and not wearing any makeup, I was taken for the woman I am.  

It's not just about other people's perceptions, though.  In previous posts, I've mentioned that whenever I think of an event from my past--specifically, one that I experienced  "as" Nick--I see myself as Justine in that event. I did nothing to alter my thought processes:  I've simply come to see myself as always having been Justine.  I must admit, though, it is rather strange to think of Justine as a Boy Scout or altar boy!  

In some weird way, I've been rendered invisible.  In some not-so-weird way, I'm happy about that.  At least some of my physical safety is predicated on that; so is the courtesy and respect I experience.  

What's odd about my invisibility, and my satisfaction with it, is the way it contrasts with the invisibility of a man I talked with last night.  All right, I didn't talk to an invisible man:  It's been at least twenty-five years since I've taken any substances that would give me the ability to do that!   What I mean is that the man in question feels that he has become an invisible man, like the one Ralph Ellison depicted in his novel by that same name. 

(By the way, I just happen to think it's one of the best novels written by an American.)

He made a very interesting comment to the effect that after 9/11, it seemed that white men and women retained their dominant status in American culture, but that Asian women joined them.  Black men , he said, fell by the wayside and it seemed that Asian men were simply forgotten.  He has a Korean girlfriend and says that "all the Asian women are going out with or marrying white men--or, if they're very young, they might "go for a Rastafarian, or at least some young guy who looks like one."

So here is the dilemma:  My invisibility helps me, while his hurts him.  It's enough to make me wonder whether being transgendered has anything in common with any other oppressed minority group, save for the fact that we experience prejudice and even violence simply for being who are.

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