Yikes! With the amount of publicity that this is getting I feel bad not saying what sparked it. This entire analogy came from a conversation with my former minister, Rev. Leela Sinha. She is truly inspirational and amazing. You can find out more about her current work at her website!
At 5’2″ and 130 lbs it’s hard for me to look masculine. And some days it’s not worth it. Some days getting up and flattening and tucking and layering and angsting over what clothes will best hide my hips and chest loses out to getting up and putting on whatever is most comfortable, or frankly what looks best. Some days it’s a lot easier to get up, throw something on, accept that that outfit means I’ll be read more often as female, and just walk out the door.
A few months ago I made the decision to stop getting upset or annoyed when I was misgendered in public by, say, somebody at a store or in a restaurant. A couple months after that I stopped being annoyed with friends who “messed up” my pronouns. I get it, honestly. I really have stopped trying as hard as I had been for a couple of years. Sure I’d like a deeper voice, but I’m not as anxious for it as I had been. Sure I’d like a body that fits how I feel a little more, but I have more important, fun and exciting things to save my money for.
So yes, I am trans. But I don’t try very hard.
And yes, I am trans. But I don’t care that much.
Because I live in the middle ground of gender. While most of the world functions either on side A or Side B (that is to say in a binary system – male or female) I am that mysterious other. And I’m no longer telling myself that I am just passing through this middle ground on the way from one side to the other. My camp is no longer temporary. It’s no longer a camp. I’m building a house here on this middle ground, and I get that that confuses people.
Side A and Side B make sense to people. You are male. You are female. You live on Side A which means you do these things, you like these things, and you want to be these things. Some people live in the big cities, some live in the suburbs, and some even come and camp in the middle ground at times, either to later return to their own side, or to cross over to the other side. But most folks don’t live on the middle ground. Some live here intentionally, like me, and others live here because Side A threw them out but Side B won’t take them.
It’s kind of like living on a fault line where things are shifting and shaking and sometimes our house foundations crack because the building codes that work in Side A and Side B don’t really apply to The Middleground. But instead of helping us to develop better housing structures most of the people who live on Side A and Side B either pretend we aren’t here or they tell us that nobody is SUPPOSED to live in The Middleground so we deserve what we are getting anyway.
We have allies on both sides too, of course. Folks who come in with reinforcements to help us shore up our houses and build new ones. And more and more people are coming in to help us out every day, folks who have visited The Middleground and folks who haven’t.
Why on earth would we want to live here, then? It doesn’t sound like much fun. But for those of us who choose to live here it’s about authenticity, and realness, and loving and living who we are as fully as we can. It’s embracing what this great, big, glorious Universe has given us not as a burden or something to be dealt with but as just another part of life to dance around the stars with. And that dance can happen anywhere; side A, side B, the Middleground, or anywhere else you find yourself. Whether you’re visiting, renting, buying, or peeking in from afar, welcome to my life.