Mary McPherson
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Being Trans. Trans-ish

In the new amerikkka

Before our cameras were on our phones, before Google owned the world, even before the internet itself there was me. This is me. I've been in various stages of transitioning into a man for twenty-two years. 

This train of thought started over a friend's offense at the image of Klinger in heels with a gun. Klinger. From M*A*S*H*. I'll get back to that.

I always knew I was in the wrong body. I remember asking my mom what she would have named me if I was a boy. I was four. Her answer was John. I want to be a man. A man who likes women. I always knew I enjoyed the company of females. In childhood, that seemed really strange. But later, around middle school, a name was finally put to my butch tenancies and my new found love of my band teacher. I was a lesbian. Great. Yay. That was a thing.

Then, I got out of the po-dunk white bread town I grew up in. I came to the big city, ran away from home, and found my people. The Queers. Booze and coke and girls and attention and booze and Ritalin and... drag. Oh God, there was drag. And I met trans men, trans women, and cross-dressers of all shapes and sizes. It was comfortable to act like a guy. To dress like a guy. To have a job and be the outgoing magnanimous little go-getter. And the thought of being a guy came flooding back to my mind. 

That was sixteen years ago. I'm still a CIS woman perched on a very butch soap box, desperately clawing towards what I want to be. MS slowed me down. A lot. But I digress. 

We were talking about Corporal Max Klinger from the classic television show M*A*S*H*. 

Last week the president announced that transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the military. That announcement sent off a small firestorm of what it is to be transgender, or anywhere else on that spectrum. Then where do you land on the other spectrum's? Are these people mentally ill? Will battle stop for a musical number? Again the country found itself divided. The symbol that well meaning straight people adapted was Klinger, in a dress and heels on guard duty. I found it hilarious. I re-posted it.

I could have sworn the moment had passed. Until tonight when one of my Facebook friends (whom I've never met but is working on a doctorate in philosophy, giving me cause to believe they're very smart) informed the entire world why posting a picture of a CIS man trying to catch a section 8 in a pillbox hat was an affront to the entire trans movement. They could not expel their complete and utter disdain for anyone who tolerated the ignorance that came along with using Klinger as a symbol of the trans movement. 

This is where my hiccup arose. I have the picture of Klinger on my Facebook wall. I shared it after my friend's mom did. I liked Klinger. He did his job. It didn't matter that he was wearing full dinner attire, he did his job. And no one gave him a bad time. Everyone was too busy, elbow deep in guts and blood to care that the aide they had was wearing a dress. Which I thought was how the world was supposed to work. He was technically a cross-dresser. Definitely not a transsexual. 

This five minute Facebook exchange has left me wondering if I'm really sensitive enough to be an FTM. I'm weeks, if not days, away from telling my family that I'm starting HRT. That's scary enough. But what happens when I just want to be the guy I want to be? When I'm not sensitive enough to fit in with the trans community? The country is divided like it was pre-Mathew Sheppard. I'm too queer to go back to the country folk but I don't understand how to hang with the trans community. 

This is just a little snippet of thoughts that have crossed my mind or my computer screen. It may not be entirely coherent. And please accept my most humble of apologies for rambling on. Thank you for your time. 

Further updates as events warrant. 

A picture says a thousand words and everyone hears a different one.

Read next: Dear Cis Allies
Mary McPherson

Greetings. I am an artist. A poet. A daughter. An aunt. A photographer. And I have MS. This brings a different twist to my work. It's wordy. I ramble. I make. Incomplete. Sentences. But, I do hope you enjoy what you read.

Now Reading
Being Trans. Trans-ish
Read Next
Dear Cis Allies