|||| Patience Newbury, Editor
[ spoken audio of the editorial ]
OK. I don’t quit.
I’ve been thinking a lot since revisiting this declarative. Originally, it was simply, “I quit.”
When I was swayed back to this trans conversation just over a year ago, I felt pretty hesitant. This hesitation was not formed in some vacuum. This hesitation was informed by my own history of experiential knowledge — a battery of bad wisdom which nearly did me in. I still don’t talk publicly about those experiences, and for a very good reason. It makes up part of a narrative which can never really be heard contiguously so long as I’m alive.
[Ed. note: This is the opening instalment of a five-part narrative. Subsequent instalments to come. Monica is preparing this narrative as part of a forthcoming book on her life experiences.]
|||| Monica Maldonado
[WARNING: References to rape, physical violence, clinical gatekeeping, and transphobia.]
Personal note: I’ve chosen to tell this story to confront a larger phenomenon — the wholesale exclusion, isolation, desexualization, and near-universal disgust directed at trans women — strictly and specifically through my individual lens. I chose this not because I felt I couldn’t discuss this in more abstract and universal terms, but because I think in this case it’s actually beneficial and it adds to the conversation a narrative context which I feel is often missing. As a result, this narrative is a bit more involved than usual. Rather than continuing to allow cis people to frame this discussion on their terms and making it about them and their sex, it’s time we told our own stories because this has never really been about cis people.
|||| Patience Newbury
The great revelation of 2011: not every child is cisgender, and not every child has a cissexual body.
Stop the presses. Or something.
It should be qualified somewhat: this was the biggest revelation of 2011 to a cisnormative audience and to cis people individually. For trans people who have (with gruelling patience) watched all of this cis fascination over trans children suddenly entering the cisnormative consciousness, one superlative of all superlatives emerged: this was the biggest non-story of our trans lives.
As trans people, we’ve been shrewdly aware of this knowledge for generations. For many, that knowledge is pretty clear throughout our entire conscious lives. For others, it lingers, nudges, and prods in the background until something — a particular event or an epiphany — forces us to confront and affirm it.