Throwing in another update, here, while i’m working on moving this page to my new site….
After worrying about what to do for months and stressing about the Sister Singers Network festival, i decided that i needed to come out to my chorus. I came to the conclusion that they needed to know what was going on with me, i needed their support, and if i wasn’t going to get it, i needed to know that. So i sent an e-mail out to our group’s yahoogroup (always the easier way to do things in so many ways, e-mail). I’m pleased to report that i’ve gotten nothing but support from each and every one of them. They’ve all been open to my identity and its funky variations, which has been really nice.
I also ended up having a great time at the SSN festival. It was a little weird to be in such a woman-centered space. Partly that’s because my identity was completely erased. But it’s also because of that irritating reliance on essentialist notions like, “Isn’t it great to be in a room with so much woman’s energy?,” whatever the hell that is! People were just assuming that gender is so simple and easy. But then people practically everywhere assume the same thing, and it’s not like i was under the impression that SSN wasn’t going to be a woman-centered space.
Only two of the workshops were designated as women-only spaces, which i respected (although frankly i wasn’t interested in the topics of either one anyway, which made that easier). I brought up gender issues in one workshop and once when talking informally with several of women from another chorus, and no one freaked out or ran screaming from the room. A couple people thanked me for bringing up trans issues and my own gender identity, which felt really good to hear. And i was fascinated to listen to another woman talk about her own chorus’s experience dealing with trans members (sounds like they’ve handled it wonderfully).
So i was really glad that i went. I heard some great music, met some cool people, and was courageous enough to talk about myself. I’m also really happy that i came out to Bread & Roses. They’ve been a good source of support for me, and i’m grateful for their openness to rethinking their concepts of binary gender.