Writing Apologetics4 June, 2012
I have received several negative responses to the posting of my flash fiction piece, “Trans* Love.” This post has been the most hateful, but it shares a commonality with the other responses, mainly that the piece involves transsexual sexuality. People were not offended by the use of blood and self-harm in the piece and, with only a few exceptions, they were not troubled by the inclusion of sex. Rather, it is the fact it is transsexuals having sex that is the issue. So I have prepared a response in the form of traditional apologetics. Though this is a response specifically to this anonymous poster, much of it will address other issues people had with the post.
The idea of transsexual sexuality is anathema in our society. Too many people either grossly speculate on or actively ignore its existence. Both approaches take transsexuals out of the realm of human being and make them into fetishes or neutered Barbie dolls. One of my blog’s objectives is to look at elements of regenerating (transitioning) that are often ignored, fetishised, or criminalised by society. Sometimes I do this politely functioning on a comfort the afflicted level, but today I am feeling more brash and in the mood to afflict the comfortable.
Sex is a powerful Jungian archetype and so is blood, which is also connected to fertility and female sexuality. In this instance I honestly believe there was no other direction the writing could go without ringing false. The key for making this sequence work, is this is not sexuality for the sake of sexuality. Rather, it serves as a counter weight to the extreme self-loathing she feels. The need to self harm is overwhelming (my personal experience) and it takes an equally powerful act of love and acceptance to counter it (again, my personal experience). As a writer, it was clear to me only his creative, affirming passions could counter her self-destructive passions.
If you are offended, well, perhaps that is good. Art should make people itch, either for the pleasure or from the discomfort. You can’t be a writer/artist AND be a good girl. There’s too much at stake; there’s too much darkness in the world. That was one of the first lessons I learned about writing.
The second lesson I learned is writing is a large mansion and there are rooms in that mansion for everyone. Some rooms (Stephen King, Shakespeare, JK Rowling) have a lot of people in them. Others have very few or just a lone authoress. And that’s all right. The point is not to please everyone, but to write what you feel and to celebrate that diversity.
Not everything is for everyone. You do not have to like what I write and I am not going to try to convince you. I expect a fair number of people do not like it. But as Terry Davis (author of Vision Quest and Mysterious Ways) says, write something they love or hate but make sure it’s so well done that they’d be an asshole to say it is poorly written.
I am expressing my truth as best I can. Maybe I am going to hell for that and maybe I am not, and I hope not to learn that anytime soon. There is enough darkness in the world we do not need to create more through hateful attitudes. And there is enough death without wishing it upon someone else.