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\section{``Sexophobic'' as an answer}

My thoughts are not as disciplined as I would like to, and I am still
often attacked by the question that haunted my adolescence: "what is
your sexual orientation?". Around 2001 I started to answer that with
"sexophobic", which was a bit of a trick. I would like to use that -
the label, the trick, and the need for the trick - as a starting point
for explaining my perception of some issues related to sex and gender
in Brazil, and, maybe, also in other countries where "machismo" runs
strong. I will not just point to a problem, though - there is a
proposal at the end at the text, but I felt that my proposal would
only make sense after lots of preparations, so I'll try to paint a big
picture first.


[How people judge you for: success / ways of cruising / how you keep
  face / how able you are to get what you want // self-help books //

\subsection{James Dean}

I'd like to start with a story that I heard, or read, about James
Dean, when I was a teenager, long before the internet; I may have
distorted it, and it may be apocryphal. Anyway, the story was that
he was so nervous and insecure that when he was not acting he was
totally unable to walk straight by the middle of a sidewalk - he
would always drift squiggly towards close to the wall, as someone
who unconsciously runs to a corner. He {\it could not stand} in the
middle of a room, or even of a sidewalk, as if standing in the
middle was a big responsibility; as if he was always being watched,
and judged, and being expected to answer somehow, and to position
himself. And he was not yet on par to that.


[What can we become able to stand when we call too much attention?
  Identity / interaction, communication / righteouness / tact / how do
  we state our position? Academic language vs. journalistic
  languagevs. what?]

\subsection{When Night is Falling}

  The first crucial scene in the movie happens in a Laundromat.
  Camille's dog, Bob, has just died, and she is sobbing while she
  waits for her laundry. The other person in the laundromat is Petra,
  who is a circus artist, and she talks to Camille to see if she is
  ok, and to offer help. The laundries get ready at the same time, and
  Petra switches the bags on purpose, to have a chance to see Camille

  During the rest of the movie we will have these two creatures from
  two apparently very different worlds - Camille, who, I forgot to
  tell, is a thelogist who teaches Mythology at a university, and
  Petra - and they will try to have more contact with one another.

  The film lasts 90 minutes. During all that time no one ridicularizes
  no one else, there are no enemies, and everyone is as sincere as
  possible - even when they are faced with their own fears and
  prejudices. That was the first thing that blew my mind - it gave me
  hope, as it made me realize that it had to be possible to live like
  that, that there had to be people looking for these kinds of
  existences - and that these people could be forming groups, and I
  would have to find them, to be accepted by them, and to help in
  building those groups, or ghettos, or whatever.

  A few months ago I watched that movie again, and I noticed a tiny
  detail that I found incredibly touching. When Camille opens the
  laundry bag she finds Petra's card, and it says: "Petra Soft -
  performance magician and ideal dinner guest". And the address of the

  ``Ideal dinner guest''.

  I would really love to be able to say that, but I don't dare. In
  Brazil that would probably mean that I would end up in day-long
  barbecues with lots of beer and smelly guys talking about football
  and F-1 races and laughing about idiot things.

  Where are the dinners that I would love to be invited to? And what
  am I doing to be the ideal guest for them?

% I watched the movie again a few months ago, and I // Durrutti //
% Gertrude Stein

% and defining their identities by that and forming groups (ok:
% ``ghettos'', maybe).

% That was the first thing that blew my mind

% So I was this teenager in panic //
% In the 90 minutes of the movie no one ridicularizes anyone else

% When you live in a male body

% That means that what I am saying 

% I can use her name

% Marta in a 

\subsection{Shut up}

In Brazil people often react to complaints - (micro)political
complaints, that urge for changes in policies and changes in attitudes
- in ways that dismiss the complainer. If I complain they say I'm
whining, that I am a spoiled bourgeois kid with nothing really
important to complain about, and tell me to shut up and work hard like
the others; but if, say, a tranvestive, an indian, an unemployable
black kid, or a primary teacher who has to survive on little more than
minimum wage, do complain, or is seen at a protest, or is killed by
the cops, then most people react by blocking their empathy and
regarding the complainer as little more than shit - someone useless
and irrelevant and deserving his fate.

% How animals decide to trust one another

% You need to be cynical

% by shutting off their feelings -


Let me try to paint a picture of how I felt it was to be male when I
was a kid. Let me warn you that this is going to sound childish.

When I was about 12 I saw a documentary about sharks. Then can't stop
swimming - ever - because they do not float. Being a boy in my
generation was like that - I had to do things all the time - or else I
would sink down to the depths of our social hierarchy, into some
ghostly hell with no return - into faggotness -

[Girls didn't need to do much - they did deserve care, they were
  precious - being accepted by one meant 



[How sex didn't work; looked for things that could give me good


Ethimology of {\sl courage} and {\sl corruption} / doing things with
all of your self

(``Heart'' is the kitsch word par excellence, but...)

Reich and the body armour

Memories and perceptions ``contained'' in body parts


% (find-fline "~/SCANS/FIRST_PERSON_1.jpg")

Letters $->$ careful not to frighten

in some situations we shut off - involuntarily

If I receive an e-mail from someone who I don't know well, and who
doesn't interest me, and this person is saying things that are
personal and inconvenient, I am going to shut off. I am probably not
even going to answer - because I would sort of have to translate my
thoughts to a different language to have any chance of being
understood - I can't just speak my mind.

Now consider the opposite situation. I am exchanging e-mails with this
person who I consider incredibly interesting, and I want to be able to
say more about myself. And there is this one recurring thought that
makes me in conflict: I am fascinated by her, I become hypnotized in
her presence, and I daydream of touching her, and of the possibility
of a hug, and of even, some day, we sleeping close to one another -
so: I would like to be able to tell that in a way that is not
threatening, that can be taken as a compliment, and that is not
inconvenient -

I was discussing this with a friend - we sometimes show drafts of
important e-mails to one another - and we noticed how much we pay
attention to the tone and the flow of out thoughts when we write - we
want to convey our hesitations, our tentativeness - on the one hand we
try not to be invasive, on the other we try to be as sincere and as
inspiring as possible - we want the other to feel comfortable, and
inspired to spend hours writing back to us.

I chose to tell this because I want to make a comparison


% (find-fline "~/SCANS/FIRST_PERSON_2.jpg")
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I think I speak for most of the transgender people out there when I
say - and this has been a defining trait in my life - that we spend
most of our lives doing activities which allow us, and also the
others, to forget our born-with physical sex; and also avoiding
mirrors, as we need to make what we do and think and feel be far more
intense than our many innate body characteristics that are hard to
change. So, we create an image and use it to signal who we are and
want to be; we need to be {\it visible} - a bit, at least - to let
kindred souls spot us among the crowds of daily life.

I confess that I envy the people in the pride parades that are in
couples, or sexually available, or happy, or that at least have
clearly-defined sexual identities. I have felt very suicidal in
several periods of my life, and I may not know exactly what happiness
is, but I know I have always equated sadness - no, better: despair and
hopelessness - with the certainty of being terminally alone.

\section{The 99\%}

Writing in the first person is a political act - and, I believe, one
even more powerful than labelling oneself.

Class consciouness

\section{Being welcome by being useful}


Notions of truth / medical definitons of sexuality / what ways of
defining our sexuality and gender can sound reasonable to other
people? / tones: victimizing vs asserting traditions vs what? /
constructing an identity and presenting it to people is akin to
crafting a story / what makes people believe in a story when it is
being presented in a theatre play? / suspension of disbelief
corresponds to inviting people to our universe / what do people gain
when they watch a play and get involved in it? (cite Peter Brook an
maybe David Mamet's ``Three uses of the knife'') / in many plays the
main theme is love, and by immersing oneself in the story the
spectators learn something about themselves, and about what is
possible (in terms of human relations) / good stories are {\it honest}
/ stories about what we look for and what we love are especially
important and touching / the ways we have to tell them can be
especially transforming


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