Sunday, June 26, 2011

Levels of Activism

I've never been an activist. I have my own opinion and beliefs and I'm definitely liable to express them on my blog or when asked but I don't usually go out of my way to make them known to all around me. That being said, before having surgery, I was much more involved with the trans and LGBT community. I went to support meetings, I blogged and vlogged using my real name, I frequented online trans community forums, I outed myself to people I met, and I even agreed to speak in front of a class at a college.

Going into surgery, I kind of expected to be less active in the trans community and my desire to out myself or discuss trans-related issues had already come down from its peak. I was already beginning to just live my life without any more worry of what people would think but soon after my operation, it started to become even more apparent. I changed the name I blog/vlog from, I stopped actively attending support meetings, and I stopped outing myself to people I met.

I don't consider myself stealth but in a lot of ways and to a lot of people, I am just another woman now. The professor who had asked if I'd like to speak in front of her class contacted me a couple months after I'd recovered and was hoping I was still willing to come speak in front of her class. I expressed to her my change of heart and instead pointed her towards a resource, a good friend of mine, who does this kind of thing all the time. She was both supportive and grateful.

Most recently, I had a PFLAG member ask if I could present some of my videos and possibly answer questions at some sort of small convention. I politely told her that I didn't really feel comfortable doing that kind of thing anymore but that I would love it if she used my videos for such education. She seemed to understand as well.

Today was the Gay Pride Parade and my adopted mom and other friends attended but I did not. It's never been my thing to march in parades. Maybe I view it as another form of activism that I don't care to take part in, I'm not entirely sure.

The dictionary defines 'activist' as someone who is vigorously active for a cause. While I definitely still support civil rights and many other causes, I guess I'd just prefer to work from behind the scenes and in a way that doesn't involve me directly outing myself as a transsexual woman. My preference is still and will always be to be seen and treated as a natal woman. That's how I'd like to live my life.

With that being said, I do admit to feeling a little guilty but I still talk to many transitioning girls I've met online and I still seem to have an audience for both past and present blog/vlogs. I could definitely do more for the trans community if I worked as an activist but I prefer to keep things to my little corner of the web as well as something in my pocket that I can pull out when the time to educate may arise.

8 comments:

Cynthia said...

Hi Debra,

Please, do not feel any guilt. You have done nothing to feel guilty about. Go, live the life that you should have always done. If you can help some one along the way, that's your prerogative.

Man blessings and hugs

Teagan said...

Don't feel guilty for living your life in the way that you see fit.

Halle said...

It seems to me that you are being very generous allowing the continued use of the video record you created.
This post has made me feel so amazingly happy for you.
xox

Ariel said...

I think you have done quite a lot for others already. You need not feel guilty that now it's time to live a normal life. And as you say, you can continue to do things behind the scenes. I still facilitate an online support group.

Jenn B. said...

Thanks for confirming I'm not crazy for not wanting to become a super trans-activist. My very existence during transition is activism enough... (I'm one-third through transition now)

Life In Neon said...

You've already done more than you know. At the risk of crossing into uncomfortable territory, I will say that as someone who started at roughly the same age as myself, yours were some of the most important vlogs for putting my mind at ease about what was possible. :) So many other vlogs focus on trans women who are starting in the 18-22 range, and five more years can make a world of difference. I was fumbling around worrying about it being "too late" when I came across yours.

Putting yourself out there like that *is* activism, if only by virtue of not hiding your story. And since it's YouTube, it's still there for others who come after, even now that you're moving on with your life.

Enjoy your life. You've earned it.

Debra said...

Thank you everyone for your sweet comments =) It was good to see this post so well received.

Rhiann Christina said...

There are probably as many different ways to handle the transsexual condition as there are transsexuals. If it works better for you to present yourself generally as a natal female, then you've earned it.

There is also room in the world of activism for a thousand and one different flavors of it. People need help of all kinds, and direct activism is only one kind. As for me, I'm very public, and that's my way of being activist.

Like you, I used to be far more of a direct activist. I used to do the parades, and as a public school teacher I sponsored the gay straight alliance and helped a lot of queer kids. Now, I've kind of left a great deal of that behind, but what I feel I've replaced it with is just living my life openly, happily, and successfully.

In a way, I think that has a more powerful effect. Telling a queer person that they can be open and successful is one thing; being a successful queer role model is, in my opinion, better.

I suppose I still do a bit of direct activism; I do the kind of talks that you were saying you didn't feel comfortable with any more, but I don't really seek those out, I more let them come to me.

There are a lot of different ways to help people, and each is as important as the next.

RC

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