A Columnist’s Farewell

I need to go pursue joy instead of pursuing gender. So that means putting this column to rest.

I think this column could have the potential to continue, to grow, to educate, to learn. If this column continued, I’m sure it would watch laws change for the better, and schools turn to educating their students about queer and trans histories. But I’m not the person to write that.

Maybe I will be, one day, or maybe some other swell trans person will step up and offer their skills to The Link. For now, I want to find out what else I can talk about. I want to move beyond gender, to get grass stains on my jeans as I find new ways to walk home.

Because all that I wrote for this column was about homecoming: taking testosterone, transitioning publically, seeking community and role models, having surgery and making films. Many people sought me out after reading my work: to give me thanks, to interview me, or to ask me more about gender. As if I have any answers!

It’s been really wonderful writing for The Link; everyone there was always kind. I’m gonna miss you folks. I hope to return on the occasion to write a book review, regale you with a tale or two, or perhaps even rant about gender.

I had the honour of interviewing many amazing trans people and got sneak peeks at books written by trans authors. I even won the Canadian University Press John H. McDonald award for my column (which breaks the rules, really—not that I’m complaining—since they usually award you for one specific article).

I set out to change the world, at least a bit, and I succeeded in that.

I told you all, at the beginning of this two years ago, that this is not a sob story. The frustration and anger that was present in my first column on September 5, 2011 is still here.

While I know now that I can’t be some benevolent transsexual dictator telling cis-gender people how they ought to react to my gender, I am much more conscious of how much respect I deserve and should demand from others.

I don’t necessarily do this all the time, because hey, let’s face it, not everyone believes they should give respect to other human beings. Or they offer very misguided intentions as respect, like a backhanded compliment.

Sometimes, self-respect means survival of the quietest kind, hands clutching the earth, body embracing the rain. Other days, it means your roots are so deep that you are thriving and growing despite, and because of, public condemnation.

There isn’t really an “end” to a transition, you know. I don’t cross the finish line or get a PhD for being trans. I keep changing moment to moment, like all humans do. While I’m concerned about trans rights, and human rights as a whole, I try not to worry obsessively about it. Action will get us closer to liberation than fretting will.

I don’t really know where I’ll go from here. I still haven’t changed my name or my gender marker. Close family members still get my pronouns wrong. You learn a lot of patience in transitioning, as you ask the world to look at itself in a different way. It’s not always safe. I’ve learned to pick my battles but even then, I find new bruises.

Many thanks go to Gabrielle Bouchard, for supporting me through my transition; to my mom and dad, for hanging in there; to my little brother Matt, for not being afraid to ask questions; to my cousins Kristina, Andrea, and Amanda, for always taking everything in stride; to Ernie, Mrs. Claude, and Mrs. Bush for helping me realize that I can write and for introducing me to good books; to all my friends, for the hugs and laughter; to Tara and Kota, for holding my hand exactly when I needed it; for anyone who has ever given me aid; to N., for helping me with my injection fears and all those old hurts; to my doctors, for giving me what I need; to my psychiatrist R.L., for being there; and finally, to all of you, for listening and caring and continuing to live, despite everything. Thank you.

I only have vague intentions beyond this. To finish school, keep modifying my body however I see fit, write books, love more every day, to keep on keeping on. The usual jazz. I’m sure you’ll see me around.

May your hopes stay bright, your dreams vivid, and your gender gorgeous.

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