These things happened since the calendar turned:
- several other people and I worked very hard to make sure that trans people in DC can get health insurance coverage for transition-related care;
- I graduated from my MSW program and gave a commencement speech where I connected gender transition to Catholic social teaching (and people clapped when I came out in the speech, which was pretty neat);
- I moved to Brooklyn a day later;
- I visited Istanbul a few days after moving;
- I am spending my days now, in New York City, musing on what I’d like to come next, and occasionally talking to people about how to make homeless shelters better for trans people.
I’ve learned a handful of things. After a bunch of obviously significant events, you can be decreasingly sure of what they all mean when added up. (That’s a very Joan Didion thing of me to write.) A person can be both subversive and polite, and other people can respond well to such a combination. Istanbul has so many cats that they have municipally-maintained cat houses. If you (a) explain how to make some sort of policy change to policymakers, (b) give said policymakers extra information as they ask for it and/or you predict they need it, and (c) evince to said policymakers a well-calibrated combination of empathy and firmness, you can change policy. If you strike up a conversation with a stranger on a train about how you both got to a place, and you ask the stranger how they got to this place, the stranger may actually tell you, with a dramatic flourish: “A maaaaaagic spell.”
I’m coming to an ever-better understanding of something one of my favorite artists sang: “Life/is bigger/bigger than you.”
Toward the end of my MSW program, people asked me, of course, “What are you doing when you move? “Wherever the wind may take me,” I semi-joked. I sometimes feel like I’m living that semi-joke. I sometimes I feel like I’m living that semi-joke, albeit in a scenario where I have a device that allows its user to direct the wind. I do not direct the wind or magic spells, but I hope human beings in the United States will one day be treated with as much concern as Istanbul’s cats, and even if I get knocked over by strong gusts or strangers or a hardened belief in the ultimate incoherence of life, I’ll keep on musing about being an ever-better activist and writer of scattershot navel gaze-y essays.
I was fried at the end of 2012. I had a death in the family, and was coming off of the most intense six months of my life. I needed a way to decompress. So I made a solo record.
It’s called The 26th Anniversary Edition, and it’s coming out on May 1. You can hear two songs on SoundCloud: “Stop Counterfeit Whimsy,” which is about me at various points in time; and “How We Lose This Thing,” about some of the forces destroying DC. The rest of the album is about as fun as those jams. Oh, and there’s some loneliness and death on the album, too.
I’ll throw the whole album on my homepage once we get to May 1. Till then, please play and make all your friends play those songs I posted.
I wrote a blog post on the website for the band in which I play bass and sometimes sing–Southern Problems. The blog post is just a vehicle for the first taste we’re giving of our album, Space. Enjoy this song, “Jennifer,” as you’ll hear it on Space.