Transgressing Life

Tara Chia (aka One Man Nation) (SGP/E)

© Tara Chia

© Tara Chia

Coming off 3 weeks in the UK and Germany, I feel more equilibrated at the moment and am writing you to clarify within myself my process in regards to transgenderism, life and art – the dismantling of my alter-ego without the erection of a new one.

As I live more and more being gendered as a woman, I face life as a woman and am perceived as a woman. I don’t see what I am doing as adopting a new role, but rather, as I peel off the previous layers of my constructed identity as I would an onion, the face that stares back at me in the mirror now could not be more natural to me than any other faces staring back before. Without a clearly defined end point, meaning I am not your classic transsexual who sees myself as a total woman, I am enjoying every microsecond of this process as it is highly enriching to be able to have such a diverse perspective to the stratified patriarchy we have inherited. Feeling my way through life in this sort of improvised transition has felt nothing short of exhilarating, where every step is a step into the myriad facets of self discovery and definitely a way of removing previously created walls of identity that I have stood behind.

I do not behave as society expects of me, but being perceived as a woman now have things I need to consider that I never had to before, such as where I can go alone at night or which places would be safer for trans-women to travel to. These are insights which I have gained from experience and self-reflection in the process of transitioning, something I would not have understood had I not chosen to live as such, therefore, I see it almost as my own yoga/meditation practice 😛

This peeling off of the layers and ‘becoming’ is my art and life, I define art in this sense as how the Spanish define whether a person ‘has art’ or ‘doesn’t have art’ (‘tiene arte, no tiene arte), art is in this definition a schematic substitute for duende, sultana, ‘she transmits’. I find it impossible to have them separated, maybe it was misrepresented when I said it was an art project, it is to me at this moment in time a life project.

Ideas aside, practicalities I face on a daily basis include situations where I take out an ID card or my passport now I have to face a baffled person who can’t place a connection between the guy in the picture and the woman standing in front of her/him. Every time I am in close proximity to other people, in a plane (waiting to exit), in a queue, when I go through security checks at airports, every time I have to use a clearly defined fe(male) toilet, I am faced with the vulnerability of un-belonging.

Hope all is well in Singapore and sending love from Spain.