Sunday, 18 May 2008

knowing my place


A bit of thinking time at Schloss Marland. I was a bit frazzled after the radio interviews; in short order, we did R4, RTE2, and Newstalk (an Irish radio station).

This blog would be valueless if it was only used for propaganda about the book; I want to look at how the process affects me, too. So the disclosure here (such as it is) is difficult, in the same way as I felt uncomfortable thinking back to the Gerry Ryan interview; it is about disclosure of things which I would not normally talk about. Were my answers to his questions the correct response, or should I have pointed out to him the inappropriateness of some of his questions? -I think I did the right thing; give listeners the chance to make their own mind up about me, and about Gerry Ryan. It was funny that he obviously thought that women shouldn't work in engineering; and his disclosure that his eight year old daughter is experimenting with heels and make-up was unintentionally quite funny, if rather worrying...

Then there's the question of where my place is, or is perceived to be, in relation to the book. Because ultimately it's Richard's writing, and I am afraid of looking foolish by seeming to appropriate it as my work too. I obviously feel very involved with it, and pleased with the physical contribution I made to it, though haiku and drawings are not hugely important in the great scheme of things.



I flatter myself that I can write fairly well; I was amused when the P&O defence lawyer described me as articulate and intelligent (and a whole lot of other things), intending this description as a criticism; someone in my position is not supposed to be those things, in his world view. How much I respect his opinion, you may imagine.

But Richard is a writer; he's worked at his craft for a long time now, and it shows. I was practically hugging myself when I first read his text, at the felicity of it all. I could never come near that.

Having acknowledged that, I still feel very much part of the process.

OK, that's the Sunday morning state of the nation address.

Tomorrow, Radio Bristol. Then Tuesday, TransLondon.

Onwards and upwards.

5 comments:

  1. The book wouldn't be there without you.

    I think that Gerry Ryan was trying very much to put things into everyday life - That's not a good way of putting it. he wanted his listeners to be able to identify in some ways as to what was going on. You are very brave and very patient having to explain things over and over again. You are probably paving the way for others like your self - let's hope it will be easier for them because of pioneers like you.

    By the way I've saved the broadcast for my daughter who's studying psychology - she's very interested in the 'nutty Irish interviewer'. Of course you and Richard will give her lots of insite into many different things.

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  2. Don't you mean Tuesday for translondon m'dear?

    Caroline x

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  3. Thanks, Anji. I suppose that part of my worry is that on the radio thing I may have been seen to be collaborating in a standard media treatment of trans stuff; Julia Serano critiques this stuff quite rigorously in Whipping Girl, and part of me agrees with her, but my gut feeling is that I should just explain, explain, explain.

    "Nutty irish interviewer"? -sounds about right... I hope she finds it interesting.

    Damn, Caroline. You're right, of course. Duly amended in the text.

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  4. I have every sympathy with your ambivalence about how Gerry Ryan conducted this interview Dru. I was struck by how he wouldn't in a million years have interviewed someone he considered to be a 'woman' (if you get my drift) in this way. His questions were intimate and inappropriate.

    He sort of reminded me of the 'tranny starers'. You know the ones I mean? When you're out and about (or perhaps my dear you are beyond all this now), and you're attracting no attention at all, and then you find someone just staring at you. Just staring. They seem to have forgotten all the rules of normal human courtesy, forgotten that you are a human being even, as they peer at you like a museum exhibit for minute after minute. I had one woman doing this on a train a few weeks back. It actually made me really angry inside.

    I thought Ryan's approach was almost the verbal equivalent of that.

    And yet, there are other principles at work. If we don't explain...who will? The general level of understanding is SO non existent that, like you I grit my teeth and tell people what I can, once more, and mostly, as long they're not coming over all Jerry Springer on me, I feel I did the right thing. It continues to amaze me - though it shouldn't - how difficult to grasp some of this is for people. (A good (female) friend who has met me as Jo, been very accepting, was sitting with me in a hotel bar the other day (with me, as ever, as Jo), and she said "So which loo do you go to?!").

    Why should we have to keep explaining?

    Did black people have to laboriously explain to people in shops and restaurants 60 years ago that they were in fact perfectly 'normal', not a 'threat', that it was just a question of skin pigment that made them 'different'? And if they did, did it make them feel angry, humiliated, like they were asking 'permission' to be? Or like they were moving something forward in some small way?

    Nice pic of you by the way.

    (Glad it's Tuesday. Can't make Wednesday!)

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  5. Thanks, Jo. I thought my reply was a good excuse for a fresh post, so that poem could get a proper airing. :-)

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