Comments tend to get lost after the post is a few days old, so I thought I’d put this one up in the foreground:
This article was very light-weight, and it was simply my hope that problematic as it might be, it would drive people to my memoir. My memoir is being published by Seal Press, and is the result of many years of labor and love — it is called, The Testosterone Files and will be in bookstores in May, and available online at the usual outlets before the end of April.
The article is in no way truly representative of me, although she did interview me — and frankly, was quite respectful and excited about the book. However, again, I would prefer that people dig into the book, which, is one of the first of it’s kind — certainly the first written by an American Indian/Hispano – Sephardic transman (to my knowledge) — and a memoir that I am hoping will have an impact, in it’s own small way — on sexual politics and translives. Also, it is my own authentic story, told from a perspective of adventure and intensely lived experience…
Thank you for your thoughts and wisdom.
Max Wolf Valerio
Max Wolf Valerio actually commented on my post! Thank you!
I should take this opportunity to clarify: I really don’t think Valerio is a big old misogynist essentialist neanderthal John-Tierney-rimjob-giver. (I think getting an essay published in This Bridge Called My Back grants you a little bit of protection from that charge, yes?) I hold Valerio the activist and writer in the highest esteem and am very glad to have the opportunity to read his work.
My complaint was with the article, and with its reversion to type; I had the strong suspicion that the author was writing more from her preconceptions than from Valerio himself. I’m sorry if I didn’t make that distinction clearly enough, and I hope that I haven’t offended anyone. Um, Mr. Valerio included.
Nor would I ever begrudge a writer his publicity. In fact, I should have included more specific information about The Testosterone Files in my post.
I’m also holding this up here as a pretty decent impromptu vision statement for communication. Over on the thread about ignorant questions, people seem to be getting the sense that I think transpeople should stop answering them, or that every non-knowledgeable person is deeply lazy. Not at all! It’s simply impossible to go through life without explaining, for one thing–to doctors, ER staff, pharmacists, receptionists, government employees, small children, dates, family members, gym managers, coworkers, and so on. For another, I honestly don’t mind answering respectful questions asked in good faith.
The issue is one of reciprocity. I expect people to use common sense–to understand, for example, that a swarmed buffet table might not be the best place to ask me what “the surgery” entails, or that I might prefer not to be outed without warning, or that a discussion should be allowed to continue unmolested even if it goes over their heads. I also expect people to do a little bit of the work themselves–to do things like search online, visit libraries, and read memoirs like The Testosterone Files when writers like Valerio go to the trouble of producing them.
I should also point out that it isn’t merely burdensome to require every member of a minority to recapitulate phylogeny for every ignoramus who can’t be bothered to do their homework. It’s impossible.
(Speaking of things to read, here’s Valerio’s obituary for Gloria Anzaldua. I’m ashamed to say that she’s one writer I’m not as familiar with as I should be; I read Bridge way before I was completely ready for it and have seen a few interviews, but that’s it. I have to return John Henry Days to the library tomorrow; looks like I have some homework myself.)