"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Saturday 25 September 2010

How Our World Changes

Getting hatred to go away just will not work. Sometimes the only way things change is, as our friend LeAnne suggests on her masthead, by waiting for the target to move to someone else. Personally, I’d like to think the world might someday be a kinder, gentler place; the sort of world Gene Roddenberry wrote about in his series ‘Startrek’.

So how do you change the world? Well, like Roddenberry, you produce a good work of fiction.

People can be moved to act on a problem when a television program, movie, or book brings the issue to a personal level. Non-fiction tends to be boring and dry in comparison. It is hard to name a classic work of fiction from Dickens on that was not, in some sense, a social commentary, and each one, in some small way changed its world. 

Television quickly moved from light entertainment to societal manipulation during the 1960’s and has never looked back. The same well-honed techniques used to market any number of once unknown products were used to move whole populations to vote for a particular party, and in the case of social consciousness, to think in a particular way and either approve or disapprove more strongly of a particular group of fellow humans.

After reading Annabel, I began to see some possibilities, and look forward to the novels, the screenplays, etc. that might begin to let the world see what we already know about trans issues. Someone will create believable trans characters, who are capable of letting our culture see how wrong the send-up has been; that who we are, what we are living with and the ways we are finding to get on with our lives are not something that needs to be hidden away, or snickered at.

How else can we hope to move the target to some other back than by creating some empathy and selling the truth that we are decent humans and have much to offer society?

It would be much appreciated if a flood of responses gave everyone a few hundred book and dvd titles to peruse and purchase and recommend to our friends and family for their edification. Let's start changing the world.




  1. Other than Gore Vida's campy Myra Breckinridge, I think just about every book or film I have seen dealing with trans persons, has been biographical.

    Trans persons are coming more into the mainstream, but it's slow going. President Obama actually appointed a trans woman to a position in his administration.

    I have just received an email from someone in my support group, the surgeon who has performed SRS on several of the women in my group, and who is also trans, will be on Oprah this coming Wednesday, with her spouse. Not so much to talk about trans issues, as to discuss their unusual family.

    Melissa XX

  2. I have not yet read Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher. It's a young adult novel about a boy who falls for a trans girl. Gina reviewed it a while ago in her blog Skip the Makeup (an excellent blog that focuses on how trans people are portrayed in media).

    I'm afraid I don't know of any other fictional works (though Gina mentions a couple). I have a story idea that isn't a nonfiction autobiography, but I haven't done anything about it.

  3. There is nothing I am able to say about a subject such as this.

    I just popped in to say thank you for the mention.

  4. You know, I have actually written several screenplays, one of which I actually sold, but that was ages ago and I have moved far beyond that Hollywood "scene".

    What I would like to do is start with a novel that changes the accepted narrative from what is the generally accepted "concensus" of what it means to be "trans". I just need a publisher. Any thoughts?

  5. I agree with your assessment of how media sources have, for many years now, used their power to "move the target." When I read your description of the phrase it made perfect sense. Media, along with politicians from every description have been pitting one group against the other to give their favored group an advantage. The squabbles are endless...one skin color vs. another skin color; male vs. female, rich vs. poor; religious vs. atheists. I could go on and on. In our limited world of transgenderism, it sometimes seems like ALL of the aforementioned are vs. us. When you are the low "man" on the totem pole, what are you gonna do? Sometimes we come across as so far out on the fringe that nobody wants to deal with us, much less try to understand and accept us. The inroads are few and far between. Most people seem to view us as objects of curiosity instead of a learning opportunity.

    I guess it really does go against our nature to be vocal, activists, and political. Most of us just want to live our lives like everyone else...in peace and quiet. The few activists we have working for us are not generally accepted as mainstream people...again, mostly a curiosity to be left to fend for themselves. Most of us spend the majority of our lives in hiding. That HAS to be a major cause of our problem. People assume that if you hide who you are, you must be ashamed of that person for some reason.

    Most of us are not willing to risk losing friends and family just for the opportunity to be "out there" and exposed to degradation and humiliation by so many. Time...it's going to take lots of time. It probably won't be resolved in our lifetimes, but we can still set wonderful examples to the world. Many will be shocked, after our deaths, to discover who we really were. Perhaps that will help promote a proper image to some.

    In the mean time!...be happy and positive as much as possible. That's how we want to be remembered. :)Suzi

  6. Halle, I am usually on board with your writings. With this one, I am not.

    I don't believe that books and movies are going to be the force necessary to change the world as you speak of. For example, acceptance of gays and lesbians did not come about through media. It came about through members of that community living their lives openly and unapologetically, and members of that community standing up and not taking it anymore.

    It's not good enough for us to hide behind the excuse that we just want to live a normal life, and that it might cost us something to be open and honest. Members of other marginalized groups in the past, such as gays and lesbians, stood up despite the personal costs of standing up. They didn't rely on the media to do it for them. It's far more likely that a trans issue will be brought to a personal level for someone, if said person has a trans person in their life. Sure, there were books and movies that helped. But this blog speaks nothing of transgender people living openly.

    We're not going to change the world by giving books to people. We will change the world by openly and genuinely living our lives.

  7. Suzi and Teagan, you are both absolutely correct. It is not enough to sit back and wait for someone else to change the world for you. There is a good chance that this very issue will be the undoing of many a person such as myself, who cannot bring themselves to enter into the fray openly, but I digress from the purpose of my comment here.

    I would like to change the title of this post to reflect the fact that media attention and good fiction is only one factor in change, however doing so would change the context and therefore the meaning of your comments, so there is no way I will do that.

    You both have helped me to understand this issue in greater fullness and that is what I truly want.

    Thanks to all who comment, and especially those who challenge and embellish the ideas offered here.

  8. Late to the party here Halle, and sorry to have missed so much of it.

    I have to go with Teagan. Readers in general are already predisposed to forgiveness for and acceptance of the human condition in all of its strange and wonderful variety.

    People who do not read are less so inclined.

    Lets go back in time a little, and look race relations in America in the 50's. Raisin in the Sun articulated an outrage beautifully, but it did not win Civil Rights converts. National Guard escorts for the Little Rock 7 on national tv did.

    Move forward a little. I cannot think of a classic work of drama or fiction that sparked broader acceptance of homosexuality in the "straight" world. Many people who live for stirring drama went to see Kushner's Angels in America and wept. But again, everyone in the audience was already, definitionally loving and liberal.

    The work of fully and completely leveling the ground for people of color and for homosexuals in America is clearly not complete. But nice strides have been made though. Hooray!

    And now comes "our" time.

    Every day, in some city or town, a father, a mother, a spouse, a child, somewhere is in the process of learning that a son, a daughter, a lover or parent is living with a gender identity struggle.

    I suspect that the fathers, mothers, partners and children who respond with love will be more likely to have read Dickens and Dostoevsky, Heller and Vonnegut, Atwood and Updike than those that respond with closed hearts.

    If more people read books, period, we would not require a Little Rock or Selma, an AIDS epidemic or a Stonewall to nudge things forward.

    I wonder if Trans acceptance will be brought about by divisive, visible, tragic, heroic moments like those, or gradually, glacially by the accumulated acts of love and loyalty from people near and dear to us.

    Maybe neither. I do have high hopes for younger generations though. Presumably they read too.

    And your blog would be a fine place for them to start reading. Great post. Sincere thanks - Petra

  9. I just think there has to be a change in the narrative from the current "woe is me" as promulgated by the LGBTI/Gay Inc./HRC, etc, and all those self serving leftwing socialist professional activists...to a more positive reality based on the EXISTING innumerable success stories.