Of What Possible Value Is Transgender Experience & Theory In These Changing Times?

Moving_on_5Dear Friends, Family, and Tribe,

I’m preparing to head out on the road again—I’m looking for tribe. It’s my 15th year of touring, and I’m both excited and apprehensive. The USA is clearly polarized—scarily so. So, who will be moving into the White House next? There are only two choices. A sweet, young man who has captured the heart of a great number of Americans? Or another playground bully and his girlfriend, the mean girl?

The world’s about to change, big time. But, no matter who will have taken the reins of the so-called free world, those of us who live out on the edges of the culture aren’t going to see much of the change we need in order to make our lives more worth living. And those of us who live out on the margins of the culture aren’t going to be any more free than we are at this moment.

Some of us live outside the culturally acceptable limits of gender, and sexuality. Others of us live way-y-y out on the despised margins of race, age, and class. Lots of us may be spiritual, but not too many religions want to include us… except maybe as charity cases. For many of us—ever since we were kids—people have laughed at us for how we looked. Or they stared at our differently abled bodies.

We’re citizens of the world, but too many of us end up as second class citizens, or illegal immigrants. We are most of the people in the world, but the powers that be are building walls to keep us out and apart.

No_child_left_behind_by_usa_5The Right Wing divides and conquers us. It’s easy. All they have to do is pit one marginalized group against another. Like race versus gender, or age versus religion. What’s it going to take for us to get down to the business and fun of a real revolution? I wanna hear some answers to that question while I’m on the road this year.

Over the last couple of hundred years, we’ve built ourselves a my way or the highway government. Are you with ‘em, or are you agin’ em? I’m with the USA, but I’m sure agin’ the idiots who are running the show these days.

The truly marginalized of the world are too complex for yes-or-no forms of public, political and religious discourse and funding. Most of us live far beyond the binary options of what those in power consider worthy of their respect.

How do we tear down the system that’s wounding us? And what in the world does postmodern gender theory have to do with any of this??

When you put postmodern gender theory into practice, you dissolve the false binaries of gender and sexuality. You gently tear down the walls built by a bully culture with the purpose of dividing and conquering us. The walls between us come tumbling down, and we find ourselves living with more and different kinds of people—on a more personal, caring level—people we normally wouldn’t hang out with.

Hand_with_hammer_3Right now, we have the tools to dismantle—one by one— the us-versus-them systemic oppressions that keep us divided as marginalized outlaws. That’s what postmodern gender theory might help accomplish in the world beyond the theory.

Our walls must come down, because it’s going to take a coalition—one that represents of all of us on any edge of the culture—to speak in a voice loud enough to rally ourselves into some social, political, and spiritual revolution. A coalition of all the outer limits folks would be huge! And noisy. And I’m sure we’d throw great parties!

So, I’m heading out on the road for another year. I’m looking for tribe. I aim to support any coalition-building activism and arts I find on my travels. I’ll tell my stories, and I’ll listen to as many stories as I possibly can. That’s what gets me jazzed about this year. I hope I get to meet you, and listen to what you have to say.

NothingbutnetsIn closing, here’s an easy way you can get into the spirit of coalition building

Malaria kills more than a million kids a year. A million kids. If you’ve got $10, or you get together nine of your friends for a dollar apiece, you can buy a simple bed net for a kid who needs one in order to get through the night without waking up lethally infected. My guess is these kids aren’t your neighbors. They probably don’t live on the same edge of the culture that you do. But they’re tribe, they’re family, and we can so easily help them out. I’m pretty sure that’s the way to get into the spirit of coalition. Please, click here to buy a bed net, if you possibly can.

That’s the spirit!

Kiss, Kiss


PS — It’s been a few years since I last wrote down exactly what sort of talks, performances, workshops and residencies I’m doing on the road. So, over the next few days, I’ll be posting shiny, new descriptions of this year’s workshops and performances.

PPS — My complete 2008-2009 touring catalogue is also available for download as a PDF file. It contains this essay and descriptions of all my road pieces. You can get your copy by clicking right here.

1 Comment

  1. Kate, you blow my mind with your words becuase you’re so so right, and that’s so so good to read. I’m glad we share a kickass tribe. Go get ’em on tour, and take great care. Love Melanie xox

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