since the last time I got it together to post. I do apologize for this. However, one part of the journey has been learning that, despite my trying to deny it for many years, browbeating myself to do ‘better,’ and desperately hoping for some kind of medical solution, I’ve simply got lower energy than other people — whatever the cause may be — and can’t always accomplish everything I set out to do. Especially since my life has been much busier than heretofore over the last month or so. And this is okay.
I’ve started a new academic career, in a field related to gender and sexual orientation. Much to my chagrin, many of the professors are coming at it from a place of a huge amount of unexamined straight and cis privilege and centrism, that really keeps them from perceiving a big part of their field.
It’s very frustrating.I’m accustomed (and this is in no small degree thanks to my own privileges) to not spending much time at all with people who put their cissexism and heterosexism on me; normally I can just leave the situation, or tell the person off without much fear of the consequences. It’s strange to me to be choosing to put myself in the firing line, and a big part of the first month or so has been managing that stress and finding ways to use the anger to refine my analysis of what’s going on.
Part of what makes me angry is that a lot of my colleagues are coming into university fresh out of cégep, while I’m coming off of fourteen years out in the queer community and a background in queer/trans activism, so I feel frustrated that they’re having a lot of prejudices reinforced with the academic imprimatur. I feel like I have a duty to take on everything they’re receiving in class, for fear of what they’ll take into the post-academic world and how they’ll put it on the people in my community.
And yet I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ — turning them off by being overly vocal, rather than successfully calling things into question — nor do I want to throw my (white, cissexual, male, enabled) weight around and take up too much space. On a grimmer note, I also don’t want to sabotage myself. This field is very political, in the sense of office politics, and I don’t know what kind of drama I’d be starting and if it would be counterproductive.
It’s not all bad. Some other professors are quite aware of the ways in which what they have to teach is problematic; they’re encouraging us to call it into question. One even commented that she thought she and I made ‘a good team,’ and she’s allowing me to create a zine as a resource to bring trans people’s words to the other students. I’ve also gotten some support from other students, especially other ones coming to the program with a certain amount of background and baggage.
The field is one I believe strongly in. I’ve had a burst of ambition that I am very unaccustomed to, and I feel determined to ride it out into a new career in which I can help my community. And I knew I was going to have to confront a lot of institutionalized prejudice and centrism and erasure.
But it’s haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard >.<