I'm not 100% certain yet, but I may have lost a friend over this OLJ thing. That's disappointing, but I'm still not going to apologize for that piece. I believe it was good work and I continue to stand by it. What bothers me most is that it seems some people are simply assuming my motives were impure, but they can offer no actual evidence why.
I've now lost track of how many times I've been compared to Parker Molloy in the last week. It's kind of funny if you think about it. I was around for many years before Parker appeared, so if anything she should be compared to me.
The reality is, as I've acknowledged many times in the past, that Parker and I do share certain similarities as trans women and as journalists, but there's a lot of difference too. It seems that for some the positive response the piece got and the support I got from the community for writing it is seen as having the same sort of cult of personality Parker once had. I don't see it that way. I believe that people are supporting me in this not because they think I'm personally so wonderful, but because they think I'm right.
I suspect what some folks don't understand about me is I'm not only pro-trans, I'm also staunchly working class. It's where I come from, it's who I am, and it's how I see the world. I don't get starstruck very easily these days. Maybe that comes with the territory. I've met and interacted with so many of these folks now that I tend to see them as people rather than icons. I don't know. All I can tell you is I don't live in fear of offending these folks. I tell the truth as I see it regardless.
I couldn't do what I do if I engaged in the kind of self-censorship that some seem to expect of me. I didn't go out of my way to hurt OLJ, but I didn't shy away from speaking my mind on her winning the contest either. I don't see it as hurting the community, as at least one person has suggested, to argue for better representation. I think it's exactly the kind of thing a community opinion journalist should be doing. When push comes to shove, I'm always going to put what I believe are the best interests of the trans community first, even if some don't agree with me on what those best interests are.
It was a very long time ago when I figured out that no matter what I write or say on the air, someone's likely to have a problem with it and I'll end up being a target. If I'd let that stop me, I'd have given up on this work long ago. I've had conflicts about my work with activists, journalists, readers, listeners, and more. It's simply part of the job.
Another truth is that after a while you start to understand why so many trans activists burn out early and retreat from the online community. It's not that they stop caring, they just want to stop dealing with all the drama.
Yeah, I've thought about it. I'll be 53 in a few months, and I think that's when a lot of people start to think about slowing down. Not me. I can't. Not yet, and probably not for a long time. I still have too much to do. I still care too much to even consider stopping.
That said, I do think I'm going to start spending more time working on my book. I haven't been doing much on that recently and I need to get back into it. My goal is to have at least a full first draft done by no later than the end of the year. Once I have that, then I'll have to enlist some help in figuring out if it's gold or garbage. I just hope it doesn't suck.
The truth is that right now, the single greatest joy I have as a writer is my column, Transforming Gender. I love column writing. I get to write about anything trans-related I want and I love that kind of freedom. Sure, I have that same freedom as a blogger, but getting paid matters. Having my columns appear in South Florida Gay News and The Mirror Magazine matters. Getting paid to write my passion matters.
I have that same passion about my book too, but writing my book is a much more intense experience than writing a column. With the book I have to dig deep into places in my psyche I may not have visited in a while and that's not always an easy thing to do. When I began the book, I promised myself that I was going all in, that my memoir is going to be the best thing I've ever written. I believe that's achievable, but I need to put more consistent effort into it. My day is clear tomorrow so I think it's going to be a book writing day.
Hopefully, things will work out. It always hurts to lose a friend, but compromising my values is even less palatable. There are a lot of things I'll do for a friend, but not that. I just can't. I hope she can accept that.