Warning: this is an htmlized version!
The original is across this link,
and the conversion rules are here.
  "Sexophobic" as an answer -
  tangled thoughts on gender
  and first-person speech


Warning: THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS!
Some of the fragments below have the right colour and energy
and MAY be used for the final version, to be presented as
a spoken word performance at the "Encuentro". Some other parts
are old drafts that I am keeping just because they remind me
of ideas that can still be useful. I have the sensation that I
will have to lay out 200 ideas to use only 40 at the final
version.

  http://angg.twu.net/MONTREAL/sexophobic_as_answer.html
  http://angg.twu.net/gender.html

  Eduardo Ochs
  Version: 2014jan29

(find-LATEX "2013-montreal.txt")




Intro
=====
I spent a lot of time and energy during ten years gathering all the
information that I could about hormones and about ways to remove
surgically the fucking dangling thing between my legs. Twelve years
have passed, and I haven't done anything concrete.

Sometimes I look at myself in a mirror and what I see makes my say to
myself: oh my God, the battle has been lost. I look too male, and it
may be too late to change. The male hormones have won. Yet, sometimes,
I have the feeling that I chose the right priorities. Those feelings
come and go; I oscillate. _I am not sure of anything_.

I used to imagine doctors evaluating me as a candidate for hormones
and surgery - and trying to measure objectively my suffering. And when
I began to prepare this talk I wrote down several very colorful
descriptions of my worst moments. Then I realized how the temptation
of measuring suffering is almost irresistible.

My father was a survivor of the Holocaust. Sometimes I would try to
tell him my troubles, and he would compare that with almost dying, and
with having lots of people around you killed. He would make that a
competition, and I'd always lose - and he would show, again, how
ridiculous I was.

So, sometimes I start an imaginary dialog with 




[The Holocaust is the ace of the deck - anyone who loses the competion
is no longer listened to - what do we want when we talk about
suffering? Relief? Attention? Respect?]




Intro
=====
Eu gastei muito tempo e energia, durante dez anos, procurando toda a
informação que eu podia sobre hormônios e sobre jeitos de
remover cirurgicamente a coisa entre as minhas pernas. Mas se passaram
doze anos, e eu ainda não fiz nada de concreto.

Às vezes eu me olho no espelho e o que eu vejo me faz pensar: "ai
meu deus, eu perdi a batalha. Eu pareço muito masculino, e deve ser
muito tarde pra mudar. Os hormônios masculinos ganharam." Mas
outras vezes o sentimento é de eu escolhi as prioridades certas.
Esses sentimentos vêm e vão; eu oscilo. _Eu não tenho certeza
de nada_.

Eu às vezes imaginava como seriam as entrevistas com os médicos
que me avaliariam como candidato pra tratamento com hormônios e
cirurgia - eles tentariam medir objetivamente o meu sofrimento. Quando
eu comecei a preparar esta fala eu

- e só há pouco tempo atrás eu percebi como a
tentação






Armadura
========
A coisa mais impressionante que aconteceu quando eu comecei a terapia
hormonal foi quase imediata - eu tomei os remédios, fui dormir, e
acordei diferente. Antes meu tórax era um bloco rígido, como uma
armadura... muitos músculos meus estavam tão rígidos há
décadas que eles não mandavam nenhuma informação pro meu
cérebro - eles não mudavam nunca, não havia nada pra mandar.
Quando eu acordei tinha, sei lá, 20, 50, 100, 200 músculos que
era como se eu não tivesse antes, e que passaram a ter mobilidade e
sensibilidade. Era enlouquecedor, mas era fantástico.

Eu ainda estou tentando pôr em palavras porque é que às vezes
eu cruzava o olhar com alguém na rua durante um ou dois segundos e
o olhar dessa pessoa me salvava o dia. Olha esta idéia daqui: podia
ser que eu sentisse que com aquela pessoa eu poderia tirar a armadura.
Essa pessoa me dava um vislumbre, e aí eu conseguia imaginar -
aliás, planejar - um futuro no qual eu não precisaria mais viver
de armadura...

O que aconteceria se eu afinal conseguisse me aproximar de uma pessoa
dessas e me abrir com ela? Acho que eu explodiria, eu diria "obrigado"
e "que alívio" e que eu procurava algo assim sem conseguir
encontrar, e eu começaria a chorar - mas isso é tão perigoso,
né, porque aí provavelmente a outra pessoa iria me achar um
chato, dependente, descontrolado...

Garimpando nos meus cadernos de anotações eu encontrei esta
frase: uma armadura de espinhos que protege o meu coração.







Shark boys
==========
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 probably going to sound
childish.

When I was about 12 I saw a documentary about sharks. They 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 muddy
hell with no return - into faggotness -




Marta
=====
I was seventeen, and my best friend - a girl called Marta Portugal,
two years older than me - was throwing a party at her house; she did
that often. I went there, but I was in a very bad mood, I was feeling
very awkward among all those happy people, and when they said "we are
going to the nightclub" I said "Ok, enjoy, I am not feeling like it, I
am going home".

Well, Marta tried to convince me to join, and I said: "I'll walk with
you all to the door of the club, then I'll leave". We went all
together, walked the ten blocks or so - she was expecting that I would
change my mind - and at the door I said "bye".

I can't reconstruct precisely what happend in the five seconds following that,
but then she grabbed my arm with both hands and bit me with all her
strength. I tried to push her, she screamed for help, yelling that I
was attacking her, a fragile little girl, and, in seconds, and a
circle of people formed around us and two guys held my arms. At that
moment I was a threat, a man, a monster.

So I had this bite mark in my arm, that took about two weeks to
disappear, and everyone was asking me how I had gotten it. When I told
the story to my sister she laughed and said, oh, please, Marta is not
a fragile little girl, she is a wild bear.

I was short, and skinny, and shy. Marta was a big woman, visibl strong and
powerful in all possible senses.



That scene has shaped my way of thinking about lots of things. Laws,
labels, and medical opinions are important, but my feeling is that
most things in life are like these situations in which a circle of
people forms around us, and opinions are formed in five seconds.

In that situation, when I was 17, I was a threat.

The crucial question is: how can we be the person who deserves
protection?












The princess
============
Let me use another image. Your family moves to another city, and you
change to another school. In you old school you were just an
introversive kid with no close relations; you were practically
invisible. In the new school something clicked somehow - another kid
asked you things, and found your answers very interesting; in a matter
of just a few days you were being invited to parties... in the old
school you were a weirdo for being totally inept at sports; and the
parties were a mess of loud people being louder, of kids running
around, drinking booze and making fun of one another, everyone wanting
that to be like the teenage parties from American movies - but in the
new school being introversive is not a sin, you were adopted by a
small group of kids who often gather together to chat for hours, and
they know that the people who speak the least often came up with the
best ideas, and conjure the best images -

And one day one of your best friends in this new school invites you to
a bigger party with more people. She - sorry, it's becoming difficult
to write in a gender-neutral way, so let me make her a "she" - she
invites you to this bigger party, where you know practically no one.
You find your friend fascinating, she finds you fascinating too, and
she is kind of protective of you. You walk together into a big house
full of people, and at that moment you are a friend of that girl, you
share a bit of her aura, you are two princesses getting into a party
in a castle - your former self, a clumsy sad kid from your previous
school, is just a distant memory -

I lived for a long time believing that life was like this: that I
would, at some point, go to another party, one where the really
interesting people would be, and I would enter into it as a princess,
and everything would work: my virtues, which were virtually valueless,
in my previous school, would shine like diamonds through a light and
semitransparent dress; I would be adopted, and my former self, who
lived in humiliation and shame, would become just a dim memory.


A princesa
==========
Deixa eu usar uma outra imagem. A sua família se muda pra outra
cidade, e você vai pra outra escola. Na sua escola antiga você
era só uma criança introversiva que não se relacionava
direito com ninguém. Na escola nova alguma coisa deu um clique -
outra criança te perguntou alguma coisa e achou as suas respostas
interessantes, e em poucos dias você estava sendo convidado pra
festas - na escola antiga você era esquisito por ser totalmente
incompetente pra esportes; e as festas eram só uma confusão de
pessoas barulhentas sendo mais barulhentas ainda, pessoas correndo pra
lá e pra cá bebendo e se sacaneando, todo mundo querendo que
tudo fosse como nas festas de adolescentes dos filmes americanos - mas
na escola nova ser introversivo não é pecado, você foi
adotado por um grupinho que às vezes se reúne pra conversar por
horas, e eles sabem que as pessoas que falam menos são as que às
vezes aparecem com as melhores idéias, e conjuram as melhores
imagens -

Aí um dia - desculpa, tá ficando difícil escrever sem
gênero, então deixa eu usar o feminino - uma das suas melhores
amigas te convida pra uma festa maior, em que vai ter bem mais gente,
e onde você não vai conhecer praticamente ninguém. Você
acha essa amiga fascinante, ela acha você fascinante também, e
ela age de forma meio protetora com você. Vocês duas entram
juntas na pela porta da casa enorme cheia de gente, e naquele momento
você é a amiga daquela garota, e você compartilha um pouco da
aura dela, vocês são duas princesas entrando numa festa numa
castelo - e a sua versão anterior, a menina tímida da outra
escola, é só uma memória distante -

Eu vivi muitos anos acreditando que a vida era assim: que eu iria em
algum momento encontrar a festa certa, a em que as pessoas realmente
interessantes estavam, e eu entraria nela como uma princesa, e tudo
funcionaria... minhas qualidades, que eram algo praticamente sem valor
na escola enterior, iriam brilhar como diamantes através de um
vestido leve e semitransparente; eu seria adotada, e a versão
anterior de mim, que vivia em humilhação e vergonha, se tornaria
só uma memória distante.








Initiative
==========
I love this image - of the princess - and I will return to it soon and
make several connections; but now let me talk about something much
more down-to-earth: _initiative_.

In Brazil men are expected to take the initiative. This was a
nightmare to me, of course, and when I was a teenager things were even
worse, because self-confidence was everything. It was as if you could
always change from being one thing to being something completely
different overnight, if you had an insight which had changed your
life. So the past didn't matter much - _certainty in your current
beliefs_ did.

On the top of our hierarchy were the kids who had more experience,
more interesting stories, more success. Ok, but success in what?
_Success in getting what you wanted_ - which in theory could mean many
things, but in practice very few, because some desires were recognized
as real while all the others were considered coward excuses - let me
explain this with a story.

In a conversation between two (male) friends one says: I can't go, I'm
busy this evening. The other one asks: what are you going to do? - Oh,
studying. - What? - Mathematics. - Why? - I have decided to learn
maths very well. - Why? - Because I want to get very good grades. -
Because I have decided that I want to study Egineering. - Why? -
Because it's an interesting career, and it pays well. - And?... - And
I want to earn a lot of money. - Why? - Because I want to have a good
car and a good house. - Why? - To fuck many women. - Ah, ok.

I hope that you have all recognized a certain "something" in this
story that rings true. Very few goals are socially recognized as valid
as ends in themselves. The others are seen as being valid as means to
an end, or sometimes not even that.

So: the boys in my generation could do some activities that would make
them more interesting and more adventurous; that would increase their
self-confidence and they would approach the girls with a slightly
better chanceof getting a "yes", and they wouldn'd care much if they
would get a "no"; they would be casual about that, and would try again
with someone else very soon - the underlying idea being that "winners
learn with their failures instead of becoming sad with them".



http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/arth200/Body/gaze.html
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/28/ways-of-seeing-john-berger/
John Berger wrote that in this history of images, "men act, women appear."






A pitbull (2013dec03)
=====================
I was going back home in the end of an evening. It was the rush hour,
and the streets, even the sidewalks, were crowded. One of the main
topics in the news was what to do with pitbulls. They were the dogs
of choice of what we called the "pitboys", which were a kind of rich,
spoiled hooligans, and there had been a handful of cases of their
pitbulls attacking, and mutilating, and sometimes killing, people. So
the news were full of articles about that, and there was a campaign
going on about outlawing pitbulls, and either killing all of them or
just making it illegal to walk with them in the streets or to have
them in houses with children.

Anyway, so that day I was walking back home, finding my way through a
very crowded sidewalk, and I saw a space near the wall of a newsstand
- and there these two teenagers, probably a brother and a sister,
talking casually to one another, and their dog.

Now you are probably imagining something threatening, but the
teenagers looked very fragile, very sensitive, very attentive, and
their dog, a pitbull who was a little older than a puppy, was looking
to everyone, with her big, sad, sweet, needy eyes, saying with her
whole body "hey, please, please, come play with me, I am not going to
do you any harm" - and some people did make eye contact with her, but
everyone, absolutely everyone, avoided her in fear, and so there, in
the middle of that empty half-circle in the sidewalk, very close to
the grey wall of the newsstand, was this sweet, needy dog trying to
look half her size, knowing that she would have to be as sweet as
possible to have anyone get close, but it wasn't working, she would
have to be _much_ more sweet, more pure, more sincere - and she kept
trying -

This scene - this image - has never left me. This is what it is like
to _be_ - sorry, rather to _walk in_ a man's body - in a macho
country. We talk about male privilege - and well, male privilege
mostly means that you can attack and people will sort of excuse you -
'cause they know that you are an irrational animal anyway.

There is a bit of a discourse that women look for, and value,
sensitive men. This is true only to a point.

Sorry, let me go back to the story of the dog for an instant. We have
this dog that is doing everything that she could to deserve a prince
charming that one day will come and pat her in the head for five
seconds. What happens if several years go by and no one comes close?
If all the effort to signal to the world how we want to be sweet was
in vain? We spent what felt like ages polishing our hearts, watching
our thoughts and daydreams for all brute gestures, and carefully
healing the brutality behind each of them, replacing that by
carefulness?

So: imagine that years go by and we are still seen and treated by
absolutely everyone as pitbulls. Our sweetness and hope get tired, and
give way to bitterness. And everyone around us say to us, with their
best intentions: "you are a pitbull! Enjoy your pitbullness!".





Um pitbull
==========

Eu estava voltando pra casa num fim de tarde. Era a hora do rush, e a
rua estava lotada de carros e a calçada entulhada de gente. Nessa 





The centrality of sex
=====================
[This section was a first attempt, just to start to lay down a certain
group of ideas and see how they could be connected. It will be
completely rewritten.]

So now I could bore you with a familiar story. Each one here in this
audience has had a period in his life where sex was of capital
importance - and not only personally, but also socially, in the sense
that our peers would judge us by how we handled these new things:
attractions, relationships, our changing bodies, sex -

I could tell you how in my generation, of teens living in the years of
freedom after the end of military dictatorship in Brazil, that was
especially intense - and the few people who were not activelly dealing
with teenages crushes and sex, either because of religion, or physical
or psychological problems, were simply non-people -

But, as I have hinted before, I was one of these outsiders -
everything went wrong with me - I was ideologically gay, but at the
same time I was in madly love with my best female friend, and my first
kiss was with a boy when I was 19, and it was horrible, and then, two
weeks later, Marta and me tried to have something physical with one
another, and it was horrible too, so then I gave up -

So, what was life after having to give up sex? The first thing I have
to say is that my self-esteem, which was already very low, sank to the
bottom. That was my first period as a sexophobic.

Ok - that was an introduction. Let me apologize for the excess of
teenage drama... my father was jewish - a survivor of concentration
camps, even - and we are very good at playing the victims, and at
self-deprecating humor. I started with that story because I wanted to
talk about a bigger picture - not just of the centrality of sex in my
generation, but the centrality of self-esteem - or, rather, of
self-confidence.




A game
======
"I am valuable; you are just desire. Every day I turn down dozens of
people who look at me just like you are looking at me now. Convince me
that you are better than the others. Crawl at my feet."

[I tried to keep myself at a safe distance from people who could do
this]




No body
=======
[Early childhood - wanting to be only a mind, without a body; how I
realized what I was missing; I was still thinking too much]


Sex
===
[Early adolescence - biology making heavy demands - "thank you,
sucker" - the end of the party]



Passing
=======
["Passing" made no sense to me]

[The world of men was made of believing in lies with all your
strength; the world of women had space for _not knowing_, doubts,
insecurity, _thinking together_ and paying attention and listening to
other people instead of affirming and monologuing - also, real
communication, dealing with faults, _honesty_.]

[Long hair as continuity with the past, and with always taking care of
yourself; male buzzcut hair ("practical"/"needs no time for
maintenance") as _always forgetting_. For me the male right to do
stupid things and forget them immediately was not something that made
me feel free - instead it made me feel in danger (of what my
colleagues could do), and that I would be always treated as dangerous
and unreliable (which made relationships based on truth and
protectiveness impossible).]

[When I look at someone I don't see just if that person is beautiful
or not, or if she is a man or a woman - I see _layers_ - I see the
history of the person and how she dealt with how others saw her in all
stages of her life. People who were always seen as beautiful and
valuable are boring (and dangerous, and able to discard people);
people who had to make themselves interesting, and who had to value
and care for each relationship they had, after the ones that matter.]

[My first male role models: Rainer-Werner Fassbinder (because of
Querelle), and Yukio Mishima]




Porn
====
[Porn gave some glimpses on what our bodies could do; no one who
matters would pay much attention to the male actors; however, porn
depicts a world of "yes"s, with no rejections and no emotional
side-effects]





Show
Confidence and self-esteem

Detachment, being casual
Doing things again

confidence
success, hierarchy
higher kids reject lower people
  "crawl at my feet"
popular kids vs outcasts
beauty -> layers
  light-skinned, blond if possible



Patti Smith's Easter


Marta: big since very young
her mother had just died
Marta: "I want my innocence back"
  (I was a kid in panic)
pitbulls pretending to be cuddly puppies
Willim Blake: "Infant Joy" (In Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae, p.272)
theater

it is not the we are incapable of aggression, or that we are
good-hearted people who never want to hurt anyone

revenge


cowards are not exciting
(find-fline "~/tmp/henrique_voce_e_covarde.jpg")
there's more to do than just "I love you"
What to offer? Complicity? sweetness? sex?
  revenge together
  drugs, intimiacy




Heart
=====
Now I want to talk about something else.
I can't name this thing right now - because it is the kitsch word par excellence.

[Reich - body armor - ability to have empathy and to make
communication - to LISTEN - describe "physically" what it is to have an open
heart]





Startle reflex
==============
[drop this section, or keep a few things and rewrite]

Please visualize a cat that just saw something threatening. He arches
and contracts his back and becomes very anxious - electric - and ready
to either attack or to run away. That neuro-muscular pattern that gets
activated has a name: it's called the "startle reflex". When we,
humans, feel threatened we contract the back of our necks in a
similar, but less visible way.

Muscular patterns become habits. I lived most of my life with my head
tucked toward my shoulders. I started to do that when I was very, very
little - to signal to others that I did not want to compete for
dominance, and that I was not a threat. Muscular patterns and
emotional patterns are connected. It takes patient work to stretch a
muscle that has spent the last 20 years contracted.

Everyone has a notion of how stretching feels and works. I like -
really, really much - to see emotional habits as similar to muscular
habits.

I grew up in a social circle where trusting was seen as something
wrong, and ridiculous. Then, when I was a teenager, and I could not
stand my isolation and my shyness anymore, I understood that people do
come close to other people that look like calm, relaxed and friendly
cats - and they do not approach people who look like startled cats.
I was a startled cat, and I would have to undo very deep habits.




We say that the cat is _startled_,
and this muscular pattern, which obviously affects 

_He become incapable of slow movements_. He is between 

I did something called Alexander Technique for several years, and
found it so powerful and fascinating that I almost moved to England

Hit and run





The street
==========


Politics of the streets
=======================

In Brazil we have to struggle all the time with the idea that doing
things publically - esp. in writing - is dangerous.



It is easy to join a manifestation of, say, a thousand people and
shout slogans against the most obvious culprits - big names like the
governor or the mayor. But people are getting beaten, arrested, and
sued.

The law is random.

Justice is not just.

One thing that is only slowly becoming clearer for Brazilians

It is much harded to join 

Let me explain my side.

I work in a university campus in the countryside that is, for all
effects, a microcosm - with one hundred professors and two thousand
students. Administrative tasks

transparency 

small groups

it is easy to criticize

and much harder to do something




Listening
=========
If you have a bit of patience I will tell you how I found a tone in
which I could tell these stories -





Truth
=====
Remember the struggle to prove that people are born gay. We can say
this is an effort to change the "medical truth". There are other
corresponding efforts to change how the laws see gays. These are
attempts to change the "legal truth". These are giant battles,
involving hundreds of thousands of people during decades.

Now let me present something much smaller, that has happened with me
dozens of times. I am chatting with someone, and the subject of
hitting on people pops up. I say that I don't do that much, and I
explain why: the thing is that I am sexophobic. What makes the person
believe me, and ask for more details in a friendly way? Because in a
few cases people have reactly very badly -

What I believe is that in these situations people decide to believe or
not in our stories about sexuality and gender in the same way that
they decide to believe in a story in theater.





Confiança, satisfeitos,, pais, afeto
====================================
A gata Sílvia confiava tanto em mim que ela às vezes dormia no meio do
tapete que ficava no meio da sala - ela sabia que eu iria sempre
prestar atenção nela e contorná-la, que ela não seria chutada de jeito
nenhum.

O guilherme contou que ele trabalha pra caralho e tá no papel de
homem da casa e pai e provedor, que a Mainá, filha da Nessa, ainda
é super arredia e defensiva com ele, vive isolada no quarto dela.

Aí eu perguntei qual é a compensação por alguém fazer
papel de pai, que eu nunca entendi... e o Guilherme disse que a
compensação deveria ser o afeto, até mais do que o orgulho e
o reconhecimento... e aí me veio a seguinte imagem: a Maina tá
sempre super ocupada com as coisas dela - é que nada tá bom
ainda, aí ela não pode parar; ela não tá satisfeita, aí
o afeto fica pra depois...

Aí eu e o Guilherme começamos a pensar sobre o que queria dizer
"satisfeito", porque afinal de contas quando a gente cuida de
alguém, de uma pessoa, ou cachorro, ou gato, o que a gente quer
é que esse alguém fique satisfeito em algum momento... mas o que
é "satisfeito"? O que a gente espera?

Deixa eu fazer um parêntese. 





O príncipe encantado
====================
Deixa eu voltar à imagem do príncipe encantado - ela é
incrivelmente rica.

Um príncipe encantado atravessa uma floresta cheia de perigos e me
salva de um castelo no qual tudo está paralisado e adormecido há
anos por conta de uma maldição. _Um príncipe encantado me
salva_. Mas porque exatamente a mim? Droga, eu sou uma pessoa com
auto-estima baixa, eu não consigo me convencer de que eu
mereço... tem tantas mulheres procurando príncipes encantados
por aí, e os príncipes encantados são poucos e são
disputados a tapa... eu tento fazer todo o possível pra _merecer_
um príncipe encantado, e pra eu ficar visível no meio da
multidão - e, o que é pior, o príncipe encantado pode ainda
ser alguém que parece um sapo... então como eu vou
reconhecê-lo? E como ele vai me reconhecer se eu pareço um sapo
também, com esse corpo de homem?

A tradução
==========
Às vezes, quando eu tou contando numa conversa como eu funciono
afetivamente eu uso essa expressão: "o príncipe encantado". Essa
eu me permito usar com quase qualquer pessoa, porque ela é
engraçada de um jeito que desarma as pessoas - então eu nem
preciso me desculpar ou me justificar antes,

[Conversa com a Beth - virou chave para coisas]

Willim Blake: "Infant Joy"
==========================
(In Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae, p.272)

Tórax como armadura
===================

Decodificação por gênero
========================
Elogios, carências, Daniel

Adolescência é uma festa
========================
Iniciativa, paranóia
Estratégia pra ficar longe de iniciativa
fusão
ética e drogas

Pessoas bonitas vs pessoas interessantes
Garota photoshopada
Dias de glória (que eu nunca tive)
Pisar em você

Tato
Coração (e confiança de que a gente vai ser entendido)
Verdade em teatro e literatura
Verdade médica
Storytelling








Eu passei anos tentando lidar com essa história. Será que só
por a Marta ser mulher ela podia a qualquer momento fazer um
escândalo, gritar que ela é frágil e pedir proteção?

 e preciosa







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