My post the other day about the lack of visibility for trans folks I must admit was so full of blaming others that it’s not even funny. I could have easily revised it or taken it off but then I would take away an opportunity for others to see that I’m not infallible and that I can take responsibility when I have bestowed an injustice upon another in the name of self-aggrandizement. In case you don’t the meaning of that term it basically means “the action or process of promoting oneself as being powerful or important.” I see enough of that going on Facebook and on blogs and frankly, I sometimes want to bring up my last meal in order to taste it again.
What has made me think twice about what I said the other day was my lovely experience at our local Pride Day Parade and Festival in our City Plaza this past Saturday. I thought it would be a wonderful idea if our local Santa Fe Transgender Support Group could walk together as a group as a show of solidarity with both the Trans community in Santa Fe and with the LGBTQ, queer community-at-large. I admit it was a last minute ditch effort in this stage of the game with Pride Day now less than three days away.
I tried to get my proposal on the agenda at the meeting and I was met with two of the four people present who could only complain that they had to work and the meeting turned immediately to other topics. These four, myself included has been pretty much it, except for a few parents of trans children and a trans girl with her twin cis sisters in support, all of who came one time and were never heard from again for the three months since I returned from Thailand in early March. The lackluster attendance can only be attributed to our non-effort to bring in new members and probably more so because the meetings have ceased to do what we set out to do which is to support people. Instead its become more like a dysfunctional family with everyone looking at everyone else for guidance, like “the blind leading the blind.”
As we were getting near the end of the meeting, I decided to ask for support from the group. In my last session with my therapist she took the time to bring up the fact that often when I talk in our sessions, I have a tendency to go off on some tangent only to go off into another one until my therapist noticed that she can tell when I am doing this because her mind drifts off, almost like falling asleep. We collaborated on finding a signal that worked for both of us and what came out of it was that whenever she notices that she has drifted off, she will say “Deanna, could you please come back into the room.
I tried to explain what I could see what was happening to me at our meetings and that I wanted the group to assist me rather than going to sleep whenever I got sidetracked. I was summarily dismissed. A little bit later I misspoke and said something that was misunderstood by two of them saying that what I said was “outrageous” because it seemed they took offense I what I said, I got a bit flustered and tried to retrace my train of thought to rephrase my statement but it was already too late because it then the discussion became about them and their offense taken.
I left the meeting in a state of dispair and got into my car and with the driver’s door still open, I began to weep. After twenty minutes I pulled myself together to drive home and when I got home I went onto our group’s Facebook page and instead of just saying that I could see that I wasn’t getting anything from the group anymore, I said that I believe that I had nothing else to give to the group, which was the real truth. The reason I could put it that way was because I could see that my unfortunate interchange was falling on deaf ears and no one seem to be willing to support not only me, but each other, except as a mutual “bitching club.”
That is when I told myself that if no one was interested in marching with me on Saturday, I would make a sign with poster paper and a wide black marker and march in the parade all by myself if I had to. I sent an imvitation to our Facebook page in case there were others who were not at the meeting but would still want to “come out” pardon my pun and join me in the parade. I showed up on Saturday at the gathering place and looked around for a familiar face among the crowd. I found one and after exhausting my search for others I decided to walk with another group and positioned myself just in front of them and just behind the next group which included my friend. As we began to march I held my sign over my head, letting it drop in front of my waist when my arms tired and after a bit of rest the sign was once again held high and proudly as I turned it from side to side so that the crowd could all see it,
I could have never anticipated such a warm response. When passed by, moving my sign from side to side, the applause and cheers grew and I tried to discount myself by saying the applause might be for all of us in the parade. From time to time someone would ask if I would stop a moment so they could snap a picture. When we reached the parade’s end at the Plaza we were directed to turn into the Plaza toward the center staying in formation. It was then that more and more people would stop me to request a picture. An intern from our local paper, The Santa Fe New Mexican, the oldest English language paper in the territory since the mid 1850’s came up to tell me he had taken my picture and wanted to get my name and address and asked me if I would like to be contacted about telling my story for an upcoming article. “By all means” I said.
Later as two Queens of Drag were prancing around on and in front of a stage, the music and vocals of Cindi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was struck up. Being one of my own anthems in celebration of my life as the girl I had always thought I should have been, I moved through the crowd to join the two lovely “ladies” and danced around forming a conga line of the three of us. I had my sign in a bag strapped over my shoulder so I drew it out and held it up and no sooner than I had, I received an ovation that could have brought the house down, so to speak.
If the local trans community was going to continue to hide out behind their justifications of being invisible, I wasn’t going to stop them because I certainly wasn’t going to be invisible anymore. No ma’am, that you very much! I plan to keep it that way!
I am trans and I am BEAUTIFUL!
Deanna Joy Hallmark