Many years ago, Johnny Carson -- being the recipient of a Sally Fields practical joke -- looked at her and said, "You really arent normal are you?" To which she playfully responded, "Well Johnny, I guess normal is as normal does!" It was a cute punch line, and yet beneath the surface made a larger statement.
What is normal anyway? How many times have you looked in the mirror and exclaimed, "Whats wrong with me, why cant I just be normal?" The answer might be that there is nothing wrong with you, except that you perceive something to be wrong with you. Throughout history there have been great thinkers and doers that in their time were all considered to be "not normal or plain crazy:" Think Columbus, or Galileo. So, cut yourself some slack, youre the best you that exists, because youre the only you that exists: a unique individual!
The religious leaders or political power structures of the day throughout history have typically always decreed Normal. And to that degree, there was a time when priests could marry, homosexuality was common amongst societies elite, and men wore make up, frills and satins. So nothing is for certain, and everything is subject to change. At the same time, societies often have a quiet, almost osmosis collective consciousness that develops beneath the surface, which many times brings about change, and a refocus of normal: Think slavery, or any host of practices that at one time were considered normal. Its happening today in the battle over same-sex marriage. Being gay has almost become common; everyone has one gay friend, brother, or uncle. Same-sex marriage however, stepped over the line, and so its normalcy is being challenged.
Guilt and shame in the transgender community was almost the status quo until recent years, because there was a "perception" that it was, or is, not only abnormal, but also wrong. But in the end, normal is really just an opinion isnt it. It is someones interpretation of what is right, or what God intended, or of any information from which they derive their conclusions. In some societies, Thailand for instance, transgenderism, ("Woman of the second category," "Katoey," or "Ladyboy," as they are locally known) is generally accepted, and has origins in Buddhist scriptures that trace back as far as the 15th century. Other ancient Indian tribes around the world also accepted transgenderism, and have stories and myths of transgender beings, or "two spirited people," who, they considered to be almost of a divine nature as well.
So normal, is not really a constant, but rather a decision made by the majority of society, based on a collective opinion, of what it deems should be acceptable. But to me, when you allow society as a whole to define normal, you are allowing others to define who you are and who you should be, based upon their perception. And if we are confined to a belief system based on perception, then like the Elephant that as a baby had its leg shackled to the stake in the ground, which as an adult believed it could not break free, we remain bound to that perception: it becomes our reality.
So the transgender community must be warriors, pioneers and abstract thinkers, in their quest to find normal. Which is not to suggest that you should stop your own personal exploration in the quest for truth, or accept a story, "Someone Elses Story," solely because it sounds good and seems to justify your existence. Happiness comes from within, from personal acceptance. And to experience this you must find the core of who you are, the center of your being, and then let your life develop outward from there. This may result in a trans life, and it might not. But it will result in a life true to who you are, and you will find sense of balance in that. Determining whether being trans is who you are, or simply what you do, is a difficult task. So have a safe, happy, and fulfilling journey -- and always, think pretty!
Brianna Austin is a free lance writer who has been a columnist for Girl Talk Magazine & Tgforum.com, and a reporter for Lady Like and TG Community News. Brianna can be reached through her website at www.briannaaustin.com.