“How to make love to a trans person.”

I left the following as a comment in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s (near-) daily open thread today, and decided to make it a post here. There are so many ways to be human. 

Amanda Simpson, senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security, is the first known transgender person appointed to a position in the US government. She was appointed by President Obama a year ago this week.

In wandering about among the blogs in my own blogrolls the other day, I found that my internet pal sara_l_r had linked to this lovely, lovely poem over at her place, Ends and Leavings, and I decided I wanted to share it, too:

How To Make Love to a Trans Person.

I know that we have a number of trans people in the community of commenters at Ta-Nehisi’s place, and I suspect there are more that I don’t know about, and I’ve recently been trying to come to grips with my sheer inability to grasp the reality of the lives lived by people who identify as trans.

I’ve long felt that you are who you tell me you are, and in whatever language you use, but there are places where it’s simply a greater challenge for my head to go to and hope to understand.

The fact of Dana International, an Israeli singer and trans woman, made a big difference for me, many years ago, but recently — because of the folks at Ta-Nehisi’s place and, like the rest of America, Chaz Bono — I’ve found myself realizing how far I had to come still. Reading about and watching interviews with Chaz helped (and I know some in the LGBTQ community have issues with him, not to mention women more generally having issue with what some see as his misogyny, but I’m working at a much, much more basic level here!), as did reading a wonderful, loving Boston Globe article about identical twins, one of whom is a boy and one of whom is a trans girl — and then the other day, this poem helped enormously.

Here’s a small piece of it:

Realize that bodies are only a fraction of who we are
They’re just oddly-shaped vessels for hearts
And honestly, they can barely contain us
We strain at their seams with every breath we take
We are all pulse and sweat,
Tissue and nerve ending
We are programmed to grope and fumble until we get it right.
Bodies have been learning each other forever.
It’s what bodies do.
They are grab bags of parts
And half the fun is figuring out
All the different ways we can fit them together

Anyway. Thought I’d share.

And for more on Amanda Simpson, click here.

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