As many, if not all, trans feminine individuals intimately come to understand, our social recognition is caught up in a peculiar catch-22: if you do not adopt the social conventions that uphold the meaning behind the designation “woman”, you’re asked how anyone can take your identity seriously, but, if you do adopt such conventions then you’re accused of acting out stereotypical parodies of womanhood. In either case, self-determination and autonomy is denied to us, with only heteronomous or external determination left in its place. But such a form of recognition is devoid of any real significance, because how can you truly see me if I can only be seen on your own terms?
This problem is not unique to the trans experience, but is arguably near universal to all marginalized groups when we try to relate to our oppressors: whether we reject the terms of the masters and act in defiance against them, or if we accept and act in accordance with them, we never gain the same kind of recognitions and freedoms they seem to happily grant each other.
Through the course of our fleeting existence, we live to learn that in the eyes of the master, we can never be anything but paradoxical beings, impossible realities existing in the liminal space between worlds. We are embodied temporalities constantly in transition, constantly on-the-move, displaced from our original ground yet never quite finding home anywhere else. We are simultaneously here and not here, rooted and uprooted, settled and unsettled, grounded and ungrounded, descended and ascended, come and gone, past and future, being and non-being.
It is in the nature of the master to be janus-faced: he simultaneously negates and affirms our humanity, and attempts to beguile us into thinking that there is a meaningful distinction to be made between his backward-gazing conservative face and his forward-gazing progressive face, all the while in his totality functioning as an obstruction to our real self-determination. In the interest of maintaining security we are constantly forced to define ourselves within the terms and conditions of his legislative discourse, which only helps secure the original function of this discourse: to eliminate ourselves, the dispossessed, out of existence in order to establish the eternal purity of the imperial Archon and the infinite space of his dominion, where we are rendered as nothing more than mere reflections in his narcissistic, monological self-relation to himself.
In the face of such a process of systemic erasure, there is really only one thing to do: express the rapturous totality of our being, in all of its righteous indignation with the present and with the full force of its joyous deliverance of the future. In a world designed with our absence in mind, our sheer presence is itself a living refutation of its law and order, a declaration in living praxis the emptiness of the master’s “own” being. Through unity in solidarity, the symphonic reverberation of our triumphant sound resounds in perpetuity. Loud and proud, we make our existence known.