My posts have been less frequent lately. I was without a computer for a while and I have been a bit busy since I acquired a new one (thank you Mr. Kunkle) so let me apologize to all my readers. The posts I have written have taken on a particularly personal subject and tone. I get into ruts of melancholy over such issues. I will not apologize for that, it is what writers do.
On that note I want to write a little about intimacy again. I just read two excellent blog posts, one about male intimacy, and another on women and intimacy. They were both great articles, but they got me wondering, where do I fit in?
I come from a very huggy family, at least on my mom’s side. To me physical expressions of affection are as natural as breathing. Yet intimacy is something that has so often been denied me outside a few friends. Oh occasionally someone outside of that group will hug me, but it is guarded, as if they do not know what to make of it in light of the knowledge of my gender status and my sexuality.
I relish my time with my friends that are comfortable with me. I need that time, that contact, just as we all do. Last summer I spent an evening with a friend. Nothing more than two pals hanging out. After a little wine and a little music, feeling down she rested her head on my shoulder. That was it, just one friend looking to another for comfort. I never had, and still do not have any romantic inclinations toward this person, but just the fact that she felt at ease with me enough to do that felt really nice. It happens so seldom and we all need that human contact to feel, well, human.
I realize I am lucky to have that friend, or Ms. Green who wrote the above article on female intimacy, or the friend who introduced us. Many trans* folk, in particular trans* women, do not get this. Radical feminists have painted us as men trying to invade women’s spaces. At best, to them, we are selfish and just trying to take away the few safe spaces women have, at worst, we are predators (especially those of us that are lesbian, bi, or pan) camouflaging ourselves in women’s clothing the better to rape them. Most women do not believe this overtly, but have internalized it and it shows in how they behave around us.
Men can be as tricky if not more so. Our still very homophobic culture makes them reluctant to hug their trans* friends for fear of what that means for their own sexuality. Again, I have been lucky that way, but I know too many who are not, and even with my relative good fortune, I seem to have a more difficult time with intimacy than my cis friends do.
We all need that occasional contact. As I mentioned earlier, we need it to feel human. If no one wants to touch us, how worthy are we as people? It is something most cis folks can take for granted to varying degrees. Trans* folk, however cannot. We go through our life guarding ourselves because society has taught us our very existence pushes people’s boundaries. We find ourselves deprived of one of the most basic human needs. It is something I rarely, if ever, see a trans* person write about, and it is something I never see or hear a cis person address. For the sake of our health, and of a more open society, that is something that needs to change.