L'anthologie of Global Inestabilidad Transpuesta - Legal and Emotional Instability in a Transgender Life - Ireland (Part 42)

Transposing emblem by Annabelle Larousse
What it is like for those born these days I do not know. It is not an experience I have lived myself. But I do know what it was like for those of us born a few decades ago.

When you are born, you get a letter—M or F—on a piece of paper. That letter and that piece of paper will determine the course of your whole life, because the law, society, your family, those you know, those you don’t know, everyone you come into contact with will regard that letter as you. It is what you are. It is what you must be.
Dublin, Ireland - Nightlife 
Perhaps for a while you don’t question that verdict. You are told that you are a boy, or you are a girl, and you don’t question that because you are not even aware that it might be possible to do so. It is the only option you are given, and you don’t realize that there might be others.

As you grow older, though, you begin to realize that something doesn’t quite mesh. Something doesn’t make sense. You are a boy, or you are a girl—then why aren’t you like all the others you know? What is different about you?

That is when you begin to sense that you have nothing to stand on. You realize that somehow you are different, that you don’t fit into the accepted scheme, that there is no provision for you. You are something that you should not be, something that theoretically, legally, does not exist.
Cobh, Ireland - Port houses
That is when confusion sets in. If I am what I am, then why does no one else realize and recognize what I am? But what exactly am I? If there are only two categories, I must be one or the other, but I cannot see how I can fit either. And if I do not fit in, then where am I? I am nowhere.

That is when all sorts of conflicting emotions set in—perhaps shame, for example. All around you, you see people who have no difficulty fitting in. They are what they are supposed to be, what they are defined to be, and they are perfectly comfortable accepting the definition imposed on them at birth. They don’t know the uncertainty, the instability that you are struggling with. If they are right, then you must be wrong, and you are ashamed that you are not what you are supposed to be, something that seems so easy to be.
Ireland - Alley
Or perhaps you feel some guilt. If you are wrong, then you are clearly at fault. Perhaps you aren’t trying hard enough. Or worse, perhaps you’re not trying at all—because you don’t actually dislike what you are. Shouldn’t you feel guilty about finding yourself acceptable when you are something you shouldn’t be?

Or perhaps it is fear that you know. You know instinctively that what you are will be severely condemned, particularly in the strict environment you are growing up in. The exact consequences for you if you are discovered to be what you are, are unknown, but you know in your heart that you don’t want to face them. You must hide—from those closest to you, and more importantly from yourself. You cannot afford to even think about what you are. So you try to repress it.

But you cannot. You cannot any more stop being what you are than you can stop breathing. As you grow older, as you go through adulthood, your frustration steadily mounts. You are suffocating, you are suffocating yourself, and in the end it becomes unbearable.
Galway, Ireland - Students
Then a miracle occurs: a thing called the “internet” is invented. All of a sudden you have all sorts of information available, you have all sorts of people available. You realize that you aren’t alone. All over the world there are millions of people like you. You learn that there is nothing to be ashamed of. You simply are. Like a tree or a highway or a river running through a meadow or like the clouds on high, you are simply one more thing that exists in this world. You are what you are.

That is when you truly begin to be tested. You long to live, you long to breathe, you long to be free. You start to test the water: you go out among people as yourself, you let them see what you truly are, you let them see that you are not that letter that was put on a piece of paper so long ago. You wonder if it is possible for the people around you to simply let you live. It’s a roll of the dice. Some may not care: they will accept what they see as no harm to themselves. But others will react furiously: they will try to re-impose on you all the emotions that filled you as a child.

And you will still find yourself in a no-man’s land: you will want to make changes. You will want to change your name. Above all you will want to change that hated letter that was marked down on a piece of paper so long ago. And you may well discover that the law doesn’t allow you to do that.
Galway, Ireland - Violinists
Everybody has an ID, the purpose of which is to properly identify you. But for you, the law insists on giving you an ID that actually misidentifies you. If you want a passport, you cannot get one that accurately states who you are. So you may decide to do without one. Or a government office might demand an ID that you cannot produce because another office has refused to give it to you. Or a government office might offer you a proper ID, but you cannot get it because you must first provide them with other bits of supporting ID that you do not have. Legally you are nowhere.

Or perhaps it’s worse than that. Perhaps an employer will refuse to hire you, and you find that you have no legal recourse. Or perhaps someone will refuse to rent you an apartment, and they have every legal right to refuse. Or perhaps you are assaulted or bullied, and the law cares nothing about that. The law gives you no protection because the law does not even recognize that you exist.

Then another miracle occurs: in Ireland in 2015 the state declares that a transgender person will be recognized as transgender, that we will be allowed to be what we are and to live as we need to live, that we will be entitled, like everyone else, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Ireland - Man
For a moment you are thoroughly confused, disoriented. All your life you have been nowhere, you have been outside the accepted scheme of things. You have had no place to stand. That is the way the world has always worked: the circle was drawn and you were left outside.

All of a sudden it is as if the world has been turned upside down. The certainties you have always had were painful, but at least you knew what they were. You knew how things worked, even if they worked to your disadvantage. Now there is a new dispensation: you no longer know where you are because you are in a place you have never been before. You don’t know how to react, you don’t know how to feel or what to do.

But you quickly find yourself. You make an amazing discovery: you now have a place to stand. You can walk down the street, you can go to work, you can go the supermarket or the pub or the library or anywhere you want to go, and you can go there as yourself. And no one can challenge you. Because you are “legal”: you now have legal certainty, and that legal certainty gives you a sort of emotional certainty you have never had before. You have a place in the world like everyone else. You are a citizen, a human being like everyone else.
Dublin, Ireland - Sculpture at Trinity College
Now, if your legal documents are incorrect, you have a legal right to request (i.e., demand) that they be corrected—and you find to your satisfaction that the officials in charge don’t hesitate to make those corrections. You see that the law is on your side: if there are still any opposed to the exercise of your rights, they will find themselves in the wrong. The law, the police, the judge, the parliament, the government are now behind you.

You can walk through this world with your head held high. You can go about your business and your life like anybody else. The law has said that you are somebody, and finally, at long last, after so many years of doubt, you feel in your heart that yes, indeed, I am somebody. It is a remarkable feeling.

Annabelle Larousse
Postcard version of the Emblem of Instability at 1080 Wyckoff



Credits

Photo 1: Ireland - Wall and window - Fleur Treurniet

Photo 2: Dublin, Ireland - Nightlife - Madrugada Verde

Photo 3: Cobh, Ireland - Port houses - Madrugada Verde

Photo 4: Ireland - Alley - Hugues Adamo

Photo 5: Galway, Ireland - Students - Jose Ignacio Retamal

Photo 6: Galway, Ireland - Violinists - Jose Ignacio Retamal

Photo 7: Ireland - Man - Cathal Mac an Bheatha

Photo 8: Dublin, Ireland - Sculpture at Trinity College - Foto VDW


Postcard version of the Emblem of Instability at 1080 Wyckoff


Parts of the Emblem of Instability

Alvisi, Andrea. Political and Social Instability: The Brexit Mess. May 2017.

Bahras. Unstable Air Pollution - Unstable Solutions: Mongolia. June 2017.

Bichen, Svetlana Novoselova. Mental and Cultural Instability: Russia and Turkey. February 2017.

Caetano, Raphael. Instabilidade emocional: Brazil. February 2017.

Çakır, Peren. On the Road in Search of Stability: Argentina and Turkey. June 2017.

Cordido, Verónica. Instability, a Stable Reality: Venezuela and America. April 2017.

Dastan, S.A. The Stability of Instability: Turkey and Syria. March 2017.

D'Adam, Anton. Psychosocial Instability in Argentina and America: El granero del mundo and The Manifest Destiny. January 2017.

Delibasheva, Emilia. Political Instability: Electoral Coups in America and Bulgaria. December 2016.

Ellie. Angry Folk: Korea. June 2017.

Farid, Isis Kamal. Stability Is Not An Option - Egypt. August 2017.

Friedrich, Angelika. Introduction: The Emblem of Instability. September 2016.

Fondevik, Vigdis. Unstable Nature: Norway and Denmark. October 2016.

Halimi, Sophia. Modern Instabilité: Youth and Employment in France and China. March 2017.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Embracing Instability - Spain. February 2017.

Kelvin, Sera. The Stability in Expecting Emotional Instability: Brazil. April 2017.

Korneeva, Ekaterina. Instability... or Flexibility? July 2017.

Larrosa, Mariela. The Very Stable Spanish Instability. April 2017.

Lobos, José. Political Instability: Guatemala. May 2017.

Mankevich, Tatsiana. The Absence of Linguistic Stabilнасцi: Does the Belarusian Language Have a Future? December 2016.

Meschi, Isabelle. Linguistic Instabilité and Instabilità: France and Italy. November 2016.

Mitra, Ashutosh. The Instability of Change: India. January 2016.

Moussly, Sahar. The Instability of Tyranny: Syria and the Syrian Diaspora. December 2016.

Nastou, Eliza. Psychological Αστάθεια and Inestabilidad during the Economic Crisis: Greece and Spain. December 2016.

Nevosadova, Jirina. Whatever Happens, It Is Experience. May 2017.

Partykowska, Natalia. Niestabilność and адсутнасць стабільнасці in the Arts: Polish and Belarusian Theater. January 2017.

Persio, P.L.F. Social Instabilità and Instabiliteit: Italy and the Netherlands. November 2016.

Pranevich, Liubou. Cultural Instability: Belarus and Poland. March 2017.

Protić, Aleksandar. Demographic Instability: Serbia. July 2017.

Romano, Mavi. Unstable Identities: Ecuador and Europe. October 2016.

Sekulić, Jelena. Нестабилност/Nestabilnost in Language - Serbia. August 2017.

Shunit. Economic Instability: Guinea and Gambia. April 2017.

Shalunova, Marina. Language Instability: Russia. June 2017

Sitorus, Rina. Instabilitas Toleransi: Indonesia. May 2017.

Skrypka, Vladyslav. National нестійкість: Ukraine. July 2017.

Staniulis, Justas. Nestabilumas of Gediminas Hill and the Threat to the Symbol of the State: Lithuania. July 2017.

Sousa, Antonia. Social and Economic Instabilidade: Portugal. January 2017.

Vuka. My Intimate Imbalanced Inclination. March 2017.

Walton, Éva. Historical and Psychological Bizonytalanság within Hungarian Culture. January 2017.

Yücel, Sabahattin. The Instability of Turkish Education and its Effect on Culture and Language: Turkey. July 2017.

Zadrożna-Nowak, Amelia. Economic Instability: Poles at Home and the Polish Diaspora. November 2016.

Zakharova, Anastasiya. Instability in Relationships: Russia. April 2017.

To follow: emblems by Syrian, Romanian, Lebanese, Argentinian, Moldavan, British writers and translators
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Further reading

Azazeal, Alex. Отражение Spiegelt Reflection. 2014.

Friedrich, Angelika. The Emblem of Instability. September 2016.

Friedrich, Angelika. Sub-Under-U-метро-Bahn-Ground-Way. 2014.

Gergiev, Vladimir. Street - Straße - Улица. 2014

Metivier, Anthony. Kunstart. 2014.

Smirnov, Yuri. Art de streetулица. 2013.

Whittlesey, Henry, et al. Transposing Emblem - Junk Culture - Müll Trashed Мусор (Part I). August 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry, et al. Transposing Emblem - Junk Culture - Müll Trashed Мусор (Part II). August 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry, et al. Transposing Emblem - Junk Culture - Müll Trashed Мусор (Part III). September 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry. Forward to Next Transposing Emblem. January 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry. Changes to Transposing Emblems. November 2015.

Whittlesey, Henry. Excerpt of new emblem transpoзиция on trash. September 2015.

Whittlesey, Henry. Müll trashed мусор. 2013


Visit www.transposing.net for more information about transposition.
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