My father was a bit of a macho a-hole.
That said he did a few things really right by me.
When I was 8 or 9 he took me to see The Sands of Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal Diary. He didn’t talk much about the war. He had been in the Navy in the Pacific, a Seabee. He drank a lot.
We saw the movies at a drive-in and at one point during them he told me. “It’s nothing like that. When men get shot they don’t make pretty speeches. They curse and swear and cry for their mother as they try to hold their guts and blood in.”
He didn’t like me being a transkid. He tried to make a man out of me. But he never hit me and he didn’t throw me out until I was old enough to make it on my own. Hell he even allowed me some test runs on leaving home when I spent time in New York City.
He taught me some valuable lessons. One being there is power in a union and another was that I should think for myself and not just follow blindly.
Thinking for myself took me farther left than he could ever imagine but then his generation was far more conformist than mine.
They called his generation the “greatest” yet they came home and became the gray generation. They believed all the propaganda. He was an Archie Bunker in a way. Although he was a Democrat.
My generation was going to right the wrongs that were unaddressed by his post-war conformity. We fought for rights at home. He believed, “My country right or wrong.”
We demanded that America live up to its ideals and demanded equality for people of color, women and L/G people.
Transgender wasn’t on the screen at that point but I saw the personal as political and fought for my right to be different, and yet equal. I saw transsexualism as something you got an operation to treat not as who I was.
And all the while I admired those people who questioned authority, who didn’t buckle under and become little more than cogs in the corporate machine.
I thought for myself and sometimes I made mistakes. Often when I got lazy and just accepted the propaganda since it was easier to be part of the herd than to stand as an individual.
I too joined the rush to war after 9/11. When I accidentally found myself in lower Manhattan at the church that stood in the shadow of the World Trade Center I wanted to follow the mob screaming for blood.
Yet when questions arose following the invasion of Iraq and Bush’s cynical use of the scapegoating of LGBT/T people I quickly saw through the lies and was angry over being duped.
When I face some of the lying sacks of shit perversifying the lives of WBTs I see them not as authorities but as propaganda agents for the forces of bigotry.
I am more of an expert on transsexualism than any normborn can ever be. No matter how many degrees he or she has. If you haven’t lived it you can not viscerally know it.
And my father’s generation raised my generation with a willingness to fight for what we believe in.
The generation gap was about our questioning authority where they obeyed authority.