Saturday, June 28, 2008

Signals from Strangers

**something I meant to post last month**

A stranger started a conversation with me in the coffee shop about transgender history. It was only days after I decided I was going to embark on the transgender oral history project. At first it seemed awesomely serendipitous, but then the questions crept upon me: How did he know this is something I’m interested in? What made him think I had an investment in it? What was his connection to trans issues? What did he presume min was?

The encounter went from being exciting to seeming dangerous. My body recoiled in retreat. He had spoken what I had spent so much time convincing myself people didn’t notice.
I was exposed. He knew something about me that I could hardly find the words for. Something I had tapped into while groping around in the darkness. Something familiar I kept there half for the comfort of tracing its outline and half in fear that the light might prove it to be less real than the sinews of its shadows.

Sometimes the signal becomes irrelevant. It only matters how strong the winds have blown, how quickly the rain beats into the pavement and how much the antenna have been bent and rusted in the process.

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