(NB: I resisted the urge to call this blog ‘From Russia Without Love’!)
Where to begin with a response to the latest state-sponsored idiocy from Putin re banning trans-people from driving? The answer - my poetry pal Andi - who ably targets Putin with prose and poetry in this Brown Girl guest blog.
ANDI MOTHER HEN
Andi is 1.88m of gender conundrum who stumbled out of 70’s Rock ‘n’ Roll fog into the heady world of Performance Poetry around a decade ago. Swapping the drum stool for tour management in 1985, Andi took on the role of Tour and Events manager whilst writing about life’s twists and turns. Step-parent to six kids over thirty years and Mother Hen to hundreds of touring performers, Andi now performs her poetry regularly and headed the Acoustic Night Bristol group hosting Open Mics at Halo Café Bar for the last eight years. She loves Bristol!
HEAVEN KNOWS I’M SLIGHTLY MISERABLE NOW
So, long before self-awareness took root, I remember being fascinated by colour, music and cars. The gender conundrum became apparent a couple of years later. Re-packaging, as I now describe my major life decision, came 45 years later by which time I had run the full gamut of role playing. Yet those three stimulants have driven me all my life, bringing me undreamt-of experiences sublime, insane, physically painful and totally bliss-making.
As years passed observing misogyny and prejudice from inside my invisible string vest bubble, playing a masculine charade gave me time to pursue myriad interests. I held down scores of jobs that would be impossible as a Trans-lesbian in today’s Russia.
As a transwoman I would be labelled at best a misfit, sexually perverse and mentally deranged; now unfit even to manage a vehicle it seems. If I were ‘lucky’ they might still accept me cleaning the arse-cracks of my quadraplægic clients but how would I get to them if I couldn't drive?
What will be the futures of young transgendered Russians I wonder?
No chance their boys would resolutely grip the cymbal stands of their step-parent’s drum kit on a drop-side truck in a city parade. No chance that they would get heard and treated as a sentient being capable of love, responsibility for the health of others and a sense of community.
They will never drive through all four seasons from Bergen to Trondheim in one day, following two pert-buttocked, lycra clad road-skiers at 50kmph downhill through the mid Norway valleys. They will never get to rub noses and breathe in the grassy breath of an inquisitive, beautiful cow in a sleeping village or see NATO armed forces playing war games as I did when we drove back to Oslo.
Will they ever learn that Sat-Nav is a waste of time, try reading a map, write a prose poem about a man falling in love with the female voice on it and be able to perform it in public without derision?
I wonder how Putin would react if Charlie Hebdo front-paged him as a gay icon? If they haven’t already (other satirists have).
Of course Russia is not alone in this insidious action, sadly misinterpreting transpeople as deviants. But it has not always been so.
Wyanketcha, Berdache, the Native Americans called us – Two Spirit People – respected and revered as something special, often being the members of the tribe who knew about herbs, natural medicines and keeping the history and social balance of the tribe.
Clean up your act Vlad.
Why not try nailing the corrupt in your government, round up the child abusers, extremists and poisonous alcohol producers?
I guess there will now be a period of discreet social cleansing which in time will leak out on social media as surely as the incursions into Crimea and Ukraine, fuelling more impotent outrage from some in more allegedly liberated countries.
For the time being I look on with underlying apprehension, sadness yet gratitude that I live here, for the time being cosseted by State pension, wrinklies bus and railcard and a roof over my head.
For the cumulative guidance, love and support that has taken me from wretched being to one-ness.
For it came, not from one God, one source, but from each and every person I walked, talked and broke bread with.
For those with whom I have shared the raw edges of pain, tears and heart-ache.
For those who dedicate their lives to saving and improving the mortal lives of others. We all know who you are. Respect
For those with whom I have worked and travelled, from all over the world. The diversity affirming our similarities and at the same time our individualities. Taken beyond traditional religions, the bond of humanity working together, catalysed by words, music and dance, transcends boundaries and bureaucracies extending knowledge and awareness.
We may march to different drummers
But we all need to feel the beat
BUT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.