My Dander Is Up

(Since I no longer have access to the article that got my dander up, I have let the author be anonymous in my response. You can probably figure out just what she said from the context.)

Pardon me, but my dander is up. I know that is a difficult, and potentially embarrassing to raise a dander while wearing a skirt, but by golly it's hoisted and flying in the hot air of opinion.

As one who regularly generates gales of opinion on these pages, I must first proclaim that everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and while I may not agree with that opinion we are all free to express out thoughts in public. But once that opinion is out in the open it is subject to criticism and objection, and I strongly object to Anne X's edict in her August 1992 column. In short, she stated that your either must come out of the closet and fight the good fight or you are living a lie and of no use to anyone.

I must reject this simplistic, black/white view of the world. Perhaps it is because I came of age in the 60's, when those in political power would have had us believe that there were only two choices: (1) Uncritical love of country and blind allegiance to the administration or (2) Blackhearted commie-pinko treason. Then, as now, I countered with the immortal words of Mark Twain, "Loyalty to the country: always. Loyalty to the administration: when it deserves it." The critical point is that the administration is NOT the country and the country is NOT the administration.

I fear the echoes of this masculine, either/or, yes/no philosophy permeated the Ms. X's writing. I hate to say this, because it plays into the gender stereotyping that I try to avoid, but her imagery of revolution, war, trials, and domination are distressingly masculine. Pardon me, but I was under the impression that we were trying to explore the feminine side of our nature, and to achieve some kind of integration so that we can live as a whole person. At the risk of letting my own masculine side take over, I must answer Ms. X as I did the misguided President who told me that I had to fight an unnecessary and unjustified war because he was not to be questioned.

Ms X: I will not accept the false choice you offer, there is a whole spectrum of choices out there that cover the world like a rainbow. No one color has precedence, we are each a droplet of water refracting the light from where we are placed at this time. Perhaps we will move in the winds of the world, perhaps we will fall in the coolness or rise in the heat of the sun. Together we are a glorious whole, not a regimented accumulation of sameness.

I would choose to nurture my sisters with my love and advice, to support them and sustain them; helping them to overcome fear and loneliness. I refuse to tell them to go away because they do not share my agenda. Most certainly I would not denigrate any organization even if that organization does not fulfill my particular needs. I came out of the closet earlier this year and found that I did not particularly enjoy it; the negatives outweighed the positives so I simply reopened the door and went back in. This was a personal choice, based on my personal needs at this time, and to have Ms. X tell me that I am betraying some cause by doing so negates the fundamental reason for our being in an organization: to support each other and find solace from those who share similar concerns. I have said it before and will say it again: Crossdressing is not the only influence on my life and is only one of many things I like to do. I will not let it control me, and I will not let proselytizing dogmatists coerce me into becoming what I am not.

Lastly I resent Ms. X's misuse of Martin Luther King's vision. Mr. King fought and died for a world where peace and understanding were the norm. The polarization and alienation envisioned by Ms. X are the antithesis of Mr. King's dream. The glass of water is neither half full or half empty, it is a vessel that offers one of life's necessities; we need not argue over the quantity, but only appreciate and partake of the contents considering our needs and the needs of others.

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