Can’t stop the signal

October 8, 2009

Just finished watching Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen, which I ordered a few days ago and which just arrived today! If you haven’t already seen the link passed around, check out the trailer:

Overall I was impressed, there’s some good filmmaking and some great interviews in there. I suppose really it is just a bunch of people talking about themselves; but when “themselves” is an intersection of transness, maleness, blackness, and various other -nesses, there’s a lot to be said. This bit in particular struck me:

It’s been important to recognize for me that my spiritual transition needed to precede my physical transition. That the physical transition without the spiritual is not fulfilling and is kind of perhaps leaning towards problems down the road in terms of self-acceptance and acceptance in the world.

And I would say, again, give the people that you are causing to transition with you at least as much time as it took you to find self-acceptance. Don’t be impatient with your parents and your siblings and all those folks, because they don’t get it. It’s not theirs to get. We’re in a position when we transition, we force people to transition with us. Our loved ones have no choice. They can either do it gracefully or not. But we’re moving on, and they have to kind of get dragged along with us, and so sometimes that feels exactly like what’s happening to them, they’re getting dragged along like a hostage. And we have to try to make room for them to wrestle with their own stuff, and the ways in which I’ve found the most loving to do that is to just be present, and to be whole, and to be pleased with who I am. And to not be argumentative, or defensive, but to say, you know, I completely understand how you don’t understand this. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be born in the body that fit me, but if I had, maybe I wouldn’t understand it either. Give them room to not understand.

-Louis Mitchell

from “Still Black”

I completely understand how you don’t understand this.


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