My Identity: Tom Sawyer? Deb? Tortured artist?

I personally think that one’s sexual identity is the least interesting thing about a person, but I understand that is not a common thought or feeling. I do understand why people would be fascinated by the new and strange, and the current new and strange is transsexuality. Therefore people are in a lather one way or another

I didn’t meet my first out gay person till I was 20, and I promptly fell in love with him and stayed in love till he died horribly from Aids. From then on, there has been a cavalcade of gay men and women in my life. My best friend in New York was a gay man, my boarding school roommate turned out to be gay and recently married her current wife after a first marriage to the father of her children. Most I’ve met are fantastic people, with a fresh eye on the world and straight culture and I almost always appreciate them. So I don’t really get homophobia, other than understanding that a frank and outspoken gay sexual identity is new to some people and maybe a bit scary. I worked on a film investigating identity so met quite a few transsexuals, pre and post operation and some straight up transvestites. The transvestites were pretty confident, compared to the transsexuals who, the newer they were, the more fragile and frightened. They needed quite a lot of care and soothing. Which makes sense, why would you withhold simple compassion?

Simple compassion would defuse a lot of anger. Jordan Peterson who stands on a flaming bed of fame because he is unafraid of being tough on the vulnerable, was right when he said we should not be forced to use certain pronouns. However, it is right and kind that we should choose to honor the choices of our fellows. The thing about the free world is that one must have free will to choose to be a stupid bastard or a simple, good human. Without that, we are truly lost. Isn’t that obvious?

By the way, this is how I see myself. This identity has been slivered throughout my working life. I carry around a bunch of masks: the socialite, the sophisticate, the worthy Canadian, the graduate student, the dispassionate reporter, the bewildered mother, stepmother and grandmother, the country kid who identifies as Tom Sawyer and the tortured beast sitting in front of an easel wondering from whence the next string of words. Sorry for the tilt on the photo, I’m tired.

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