There comes a point when saying the same thing repeatedly does more harm than good. (Feel and say what you need to feel and say. This is where I’m at right now in the Some Like it Hot and longer discourse.)
Here are some words I don’t know if everyone wants to hear, but they’re just as honest as the piece I originally intended to share.
- No one is ever done learning. No one is above it. We all learn from one another.
- No one is ever perfect. No one should claim it. Look at what is working and what is not, and think about why, including outside a small bubble.
- No one person can speak for an entire community, ESPECIALLY NOT a person from outside that community or even one single person put on the spot from a piece of that community.
- Trans people have a voice that should be heard. In our art and our response to others’ art. And our voices aren’t monolithic.
- None of the normal trauma responses of Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Fawn are working-
So. I feel an obligation to keep trying to find new ways to engage with people I simultaneously feel admiration, fear, and disappointment about, like an authority figure who misgenders you (relatable to me) or an Aunt who fights marriage equality on the House floor (topical). You can love people and not like everything they do, especially when it affects you. And you can and should want to help them keep engaging and evolving.
I would love for us to ask why people feel adamant about holding onto these jokes. Really. Because watching a much more responsible, authentic, and yes, still funny, love story unfold shows me that people are learning; but watching what happens simultaneously and what is being swept under the rug by the press shows me that they’re not learning fast enough.
I want to work again in my life. I am cultivating space and community. I am not a separatist in the least. I’m just wondering if letting others pretend “problem solved” is going to get in everyone’s way more than saying, “Hey, it’s not over, I want to work with you to keep going.”
I started an organization because I want actionable steps toward trans people working in this business. I am doing that work. I want to talk about these shows and not have it be the end of my life. So we can do that. But I’m dropping the offensive/defensive for a moment. No trans person should have to. I’m just choosing to.
If you want to talk, whether you’re Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Matthew Lopez, Amber Ruffin, a prospective audience member, or anything in between, I’m down to talk.
I have many thoughts and feelings about this show, ranging from heartwarming and funny to disheartening. But it’s so much larger than one show. Or one article. It’s complex, systemically embedded, and will take all of us and different approaches and lenses. I’m here. And just like you, I want to keep doing the work because there’s a long way to go.