Why I do this

By , August 23, 2010 10:57 pm
Girl at Mirror - Normal Rockwell

Girl at Mirror - Normal Rockwell

I started this blog after coming out to a friend and coworker. I was talking about my then-pie-in-the-sky ideas of creating performance material out of my experiences as a trans woman. She responded with the entirely reasonable question, “Are you keeping a written record of your experiences?”

“Um…no. You think I should?”

And thus The Thang Blog was born. I’ve always been open about the self-indulgent nature of this blog: it’s a forum for discussion, sure, but it’s first and foremost a place for me to record my thoughts, my musings, and whatever catches my interest. (Read my Comments Policy if you don’t believe me.)

But over the last three years(!!) this blog – and performing, and telling my story – has become something more for me. As my hit counter has gone from one or two (or none) a day, to a few dozen, to a hundreds of readers and visitors, as my performances have gone from a pipe dream to what I hope will be a livelihood, my perspective has changed.

Telling my story has become my activism. Telling my story has become my politics.

I’ve talked before about confessional theatre, prompted by a great post at Taking Up Too Much Space. And I understand it exists with limitations, particularly if done in a sensationalist or exploitative way. But I also firmly believe that – as I said in that linked post – it’s more difficult to hate someone if you know their story. I’d go so far as it’s almost impossible, if you’ve really listened and understood their story.

So I blog and perform and share my stories at schools and classes not only because I get a lot out of it. And I do get a lot out of it; I love it. But I also do it because no one was telling my story growing up, and that’s unacceptable. I do it because ninety (or ninety-five, or ninety-nine) percent of the depictions of trans women that exist are offensive and two-dimensional. I do it because I need to, you need to, someone needs to.

I can’t imagine that Gandhi was thinking about a trans performer living in Chicago in 2010 when he said “Be the change you want to see in the world,” but it’s true.

What change do you want to see in the world? Why aren’t you doing it, right now?

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