In a small town North of Los Angeles California, a woman was brutally beaten and murdered. Three men carried her body to the woods and buried her. A life taken and a voice silenced.
Oh yes, you sigh, and you are appalled at the atrocity of man when you read the headlines in the newspaper. You begin to read it as you sip your venti soy latte. You read “the men in custody plead guilty to the murder of Gwen”, they are quoted saying, “She deceived us; we didn’t know she was really a man.”
The newspaper falls from your hand and you toss it in the trash can. Is it too much for you to bear, or is it that you just don’t care?
Trans phobia lurks through the streets like a sniper looking for a target and killing. Trans phobia will manifest itself as a verbal offense, or a malicious thought towards a trans person. It sometimes even manifests itself in a murderous act like we see in Gwen Araujo’s case. You might not think it affects you, but it does. As long as trans phobia exists and it is justified by society, it makes your face uglier. It stains your soul and ruins you. “Why?” you ask. Well my friend, as a human being who is part of this world, you are just as responsible. You encouraged it with your binary way of thinking. Guilty as charged.
What right do you have to dictate how someone speaks, acts, or dresses based on their genitalia. Will it hurt you to be more open and accepting of other people’s choices? How dare you impose your judgment on others; your neighbor, your son, your sister, nephew, co-worker…
Daughter: Our family was mostly made up of female energy: my two mothers, my sisters, my younger brother, and I, so it is safe to say that it was a family of girls, but somehow because of our gender at birth, my brother and I were expected to carry on the legacy of males in our family, whatever that means. Every Christmas my brother and I peeked out of our bunk bed. We looked at each other and then at the sorry excuse for a Christmas tree also known as the Charlie Brown tree. Under it there were our gifts, it was always a GI Joe set, plastic Disney characters, or a tool box. We found ways to get around this. My brother and I would run next door and exchange toys with the tomboy. She used to get these life size dolls with big blonde curls and ocean blue eyes. My brother and I were in heaven.
Why didn’t my mother get an idea, the year I turned nine years old? It was Halloween and she bought me a Superman costume that year. Ten minutes before going trick or treating, I ran into the bathroom and turned it into Wonder Woman’s outfit (Who wouldn’t want to be a warrior Princess from the Amazons). My mom and everyone looked at me and they closed the door behind them. I was not allowed to go out in public. I was not worried, I hated the cheap candy anyway. Alone, I got the opportunity to wear my mom’s black patent leather pumps. The outfit was complete. I spinned around to my heart’s content and imagined a world where a trans wonder woman defied authority, saved lives and crushed the oppressor. In the years that followed that October, I just started making my own costumes. One year I was a pumpkin, and one very unexciting year I was a ghost. I did anything to avoid male figures.
The other way in which I escaped my mother’s nagging and my family’s haunting of “my strange” feminine ways was through my Disney story book.
Gender According to Sleeping Beauty
Disneyland has contributed to the demise of American culture. Have you ever thought about the symbolism of the Pirate’s trip? As a child, I would sit on the bench and stare at the people waiting in line, excited to hop on the boat and take a trip through a town full of nasty, old, fat men waiting to loot the booty. I never understood it. It sounds to me like a regular night out in Holywood.
The worst insult is that fucking fable called Sleeping Beauty. The king and queen did not vanish Aurora from Kingdom so she would be safe from the witch. There was no witch. The witches, in disguise of mortals, were mom and dad. They vanished that bitch cause she was transgender. Those fairies are really the witches in a life of a trans person that stay with you for life. The only fairies in this story are the gay guys that introduced Aurora to electrolysis, and gave her her first shot of hormones. Why does the woman sleep for a hundred years? And why does it take a kiss of a man to wake her up from her slumber? Aurora went to sleep because she was tired of all the bullshit. She was tired of the discrimination, the hateful words, and the pressure of a society which doesn’t believe in the power of authenticity. Everyone is caught up in the stereotypes and quaint expectations of what a man or woman should be. Aurora made the decision to sleep for a hundred years to live in her imagination of dreams, to live in a world free from prejudice. She didn’t wake up because the prince kissed her. She woke up because she had things to do.
Daughter: Ever since I can remember I could feel the hand of gender identity wrap its strong and burly fingers around my throat. People always look at me strangely. My mom and my sisters were always scolding me for being such a girl. I defied the people around me and wore and did what I wanted. Did my dissidence towards norms alienate me from my family? I guess that explains the estrangement between my family and me.
I feel good in my skin. My hands travel my body at night, and I smile in the dark. I smirk as If saying to the world “fuck you”, I am beautiful. It is the oppression of binaries and gender stereotypes that I find myself fighting with. The funny stares, the long looks down my body, the sly remarks, they slide down my body like water drops on oil, but it is the mind that I try to protect. It is the mind that society poisons.
Through dreams I have always been able to see a side of me clear of blemishes and flaws. In my dreams I am Queen of the Nile. I travel the world and conquer countries riding bare breasted. I confess, in this dream I was Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Since I was a child, dreams have given me foresight to prepare for what is coming. When I was thirteen, my mom, brother and I were traveling to El Paso, Texas. It was seven am, and we were almost to our destination. My brother and I were comfortably asleep in the back sleep when all of a sudden, I woke up from a dream. I had dreamt that I was in a field of gold, walking along with a shirt covered in blood. I walked endlessly in my blood soaked shirt, but all was calm. There was tranquility in those fields that dissolved all my fear. One hour later, I woke up and my shirt was soaked in blood. I raised my little head from the bed of metal and glass and opened my eyes to the chaos all around. The car had gone over a cliff, and we had rolled down the hill. I found my brother in the upside down car, and slowly pulled him out of the wreckage. I remained calm, because I was familiar with the feelings. Twenty years later, my dreams continue to guide me through the toughest times. When I feel I can’t go on through a life being transgender, or different, or eccentric, I conjure up in my dreams my witches – The women before me who laughed at the face of adversity. It is in my dreams where I escape after a long day. Traversing the dream world, I am in love, I am fearless and occasionally I dream of my prince who will wake me up from my sleep. I am Guinevere, Helen of Troy, Juliet. I am what love stories are made out of. In my dreams I am not the sexual object, I am not the woman men ask for a blow job outside Vons. I am not the woman who is only visited by her boyfriend after dark. In my dreams I am love.