What’s a Rebel to Do?

I think I love Kate Bornstein. Also, I’m kind of annoyed with her.

Let me explain.

I’m currently reading Gender Outlaw. It’s the second book by Bornstein I’ve tackled. (The first, Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws, while not directly about gender issues, was pivotal in helping me finally see that I’m most definitely transgender.)

Gender Outlaw is more or less amazing. Granted, I’m only about half way through, but so far she’s convinced me that the entire cultural construct of gender is flawed to the core.

Check out this quote:

Humiliation is a whip of the defenders of gender. Humiliation is sanctioned at virtually every level of the culture: people can laugh at a transgendered person; but when there’s no fear of being humiliated for one’s portrayal of gender, there’s less opportunity for the culture to exert control.”

Yes, yes and YES.

See? Brilliant.

I’m mildly annoyed because I’ve done a little writing about gender, myself. I’ve got 60 or 70 pages that amount to little more than a rambling, not-too-whiny version of my personal story.

But I also got kinda cocky. (Oh, the irony.) I attempted to scope out the nature of gender, too. In the first few chapters of her book she says the same shit I’ve said, only she says it better, goes further, and makes more compelling points.

As a reader, I’m thrilled. As a writer, I’m both elated and jealous. As a PERSON, I cannot help but want to travel to wherever she is, hug her, then applaud, then buy her a drink, and then hug her again.

I strongly suspect she gives great hugs.

I’m really tempted to try to summarize some of what she’s written, but I think that’s a bad idea. My motive would be split between pure excitement at how right I think she is and a cheap desire to sound smart by repeating something a smart person said.

What’s a rebel like me to do?

I’ll just say this. Right now I feel a deep conviction that the ‘problem’ of my gender is mostly something that exists outside of me.

I’m not broken or sick. Maybe the system is. Maybe cultural expectations are fucked up. Maybe the only things inside me that need some tweaking are the parts of me that still wanna play by society’s rules.

Old habits die hard.

But me? I’m okay. Better than okay. I’m kinda proud of my differentness at the moment, even though it makes me a freak.

Hey, I’m good at being a freak. I’m an awesome freak. I’m fun, and interesting, and nice, and honest, and I’ve even been known to be cute. I could do a lot worse.

No, the sense of confidence I feel right now doesn’t fix any of my pragmatic problems. They’re all still there, giving me the stink eye and talking shit.

On the other hand …

I know this sounds like something you’d expect to read on a poster featuring a kitten, but maybe confidence is a part of the answer I’ve been looking for. So maybe I’m on the right track.

Eh, fuck it. Feeling good about me feels good. That’s enough tonight.