Saturday, 6 June 2015
Yes, Caitlyn — But What About Me?
I feel a little bit shy about sending you this letter as you are a big Hollywood celebrity and I am just a Canadian writer (no bestseller yet!) and Associate Professor at a small Canadian university (I haven’t even made it to full ‘Professor’ status). But it just seems — if you’ll pardon me for saying — pardon me, in fact, for speaking at all — that the media these days is all about you, and everyone is talking about you and thinking about you (and arguing about you) and I just wanted people to talk, think, and argue about me for a minute.
I know that’s presumptuous. I mean, not only are you a Hollywood celebrity — but you are rich and you have the money to get a complete make-over. You had your face reshaped so that you don’t have to grow old. I’m 63 and I have to make do with the same old face which is sagging more every day. Yes, I have some appeal as a ‘Daddy’ but basically when ‘Daddy’ becomes ‘Grandaddy’ there goes my love life. Whereas you will remain glamorous and youthful forever. So I know it’s easy to ignore me, because I’m not only not rich, I’m just old.
Then there’s the fact that I’m gay.
Being gay isn’t the kind of fabulous, scandalous thing it used to be. One of the reasons I can’t seem to reach full ‘Professor’ status is that nobody wants to give me a SSHRC grant to write about gay men anymore. Gay is so yesterday.
The other thing is that you can ‘pass,’ whereas I can’t. When you breeze into the local store to buy some makeup they are all, like: “Oh look at that beautiful young and glamorous woman! I want to serve her!” When I go to the cosmetics counter they treat me like dirt. I remember once I went to buy some eyelashes at a store in Banff (don’t ask, I was at a boring arts conference and wanted to liven things up) and the clerk in the drugstore said “Why do you want to buy eyelashes? It’s not Halloween!” Believe it or not I did buy the eyelashes, but I slunk out of that store like the proverbial cat who’s accidentally crashed a dogs’ card game.
No, I’m not a glamorous female. I’m an effeminate male, and every time I open my mouth or move my hands it makes people think about anal sex. It’s not my fault. I don’t mean to get people thinking about anal sex. But something about the way I flutter about is just a big reminder that some men really enjoy rear entry.
And finally — I know my troubles are minuscule next to yours. I mean, I don’t have to worry about pronouns — and you do. People just take one look at me and go: “There’s an effeminate old fag and we have to call him ‘he’ even though he ’s not much of a man.”
And I know it’s hell when people call you ‘he’ or ‘Bruce’ by mistake. I’m don’t mean to underestimate your pain.
Really, I’m don’t.
But you have to admit — I hope you don’t mind me saying this — that it's kind of nice for you that you have your own reality TV show. Whereas me, I stopped trying to be an actor years ago because every time I did an audition people said: “You’re very talented and funny! Would you like to play the effeminate hairdresser who has one line and can only be glimpsed in the background in the party scene?”
But honestly, Caitlyn, I don’t mean to play victim politics, or suggest my suffering is anywhere near what yours so obviously is.
I just wanted to talk about myself for like — a minute — or so.
I know it’s selfish of me.