7 Questions – Christine & Sarah
Our next response has had me grinning in anticipation for the last week, and kept an ear to ear smile on my face since it arrived. It’s my pleasure to welcome Christine Smith and HRH Princess Sarah.
HRH: My name is Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah. I’m the star of The Princess.
C: We’re here today to answer some questions for Jen’s Seven Questions project.
HRH: Let’s begin!
#1: What’s your name, chosen or otherwise?
HRH: We just answered that, didn’t we?
C: I think so.
HRH: My name “Sarah” is Hebrew for “Princess”!
C: Noted! Let’s move on.
#2: Who has been most supportive of your transition? If you haven’t started transition, who’s been most supportive of your gender expression, questioning or explorations?
HRH: Well, my cat, obviously. Her name is Proud Mary. She likes to eat bugs.
C: My wife’s been….
HRH: OOH! And my bestie BFF, Irma.
C: My wife has….
HRH: She’s kinda weird. But mostly in a good way.
C: I couldn’t have done it without my beautiful wife Heather.
HRH: OOH! And MARS! He’s my boyfriend! Only, like, uh…. Not really so much YET, but he WILL be. He’s SO super cute.
C: My dad’s been cool.
HRH: Mine too!
#3: What do most enjoy about your life since beginning transition? That is, what are some of the things you love doing now, that you couldn’t do before? And if you’re not there yet, what about the possibility of transition excites you the most? What do you look forward to?
HRH: What’s “Transition?”
C: Well people have different definitions, but for you and me I think it’s safe to say it’s when we started living in the female role. The word means going from one thing to another, so it’s when we stop living as we had and start living as we should.
C: Do you understand?
HRH: Not really. I mean…. I’ve always been a girl, so I’m not changing into one, just changing…. Um. Like, my clothes.
C: And in a sense, life is a continual transition from when we’re born to when we die.
HRH: …..That’s depressing.
C: Anyway, for me as corny and self-serving as it may be, my favorite thing that this life has allowed me to do is to make my comics. To be the person who gets to share the adventures of Sarah and her friends.
C: It’s a tremendous privilege to be able to tell these stories and share a hopeful vision of what our lives and our worlds can be. It’s news to nobody who’s walked in this path that things can get very hard and seem hopeless. But we can survive the hard times and emerge stronger. We can find happiness. There is pain, but there is joy as well. Gender nonconforming children need this hope. The children inside us grown-ups do too. We can choose to let the pain define us, or we can embrace the joy. I like to use the metaphor that we can light a candle or curse the darkness. When we do the latter we sit in the dark in misery. When we light the candle, we don’t only light our own way, we make the path brighter for everyone. Doing this, helping to make things better for my people (and aren’t we all in this human family one people?) is the greatest privilege I could ever know.
HRH: I like wearing pretty dresses.
C: That too!
HRH: My aunt Lucy!
C: Hmmm. She’s not trans-identified.
HRH: Yeah, but she’s my role model, and she’s helped me feel good about being transgender.
HRH: Ohhhh. And MMMMMMMARS!
C: Of course!
HRH: SO cute!
#5: What change(s) would you most like to see in the world? This can be trans related, or not, but we’d love to know where your passion lies.
C: I’d like to see a moratorium of political jargon and identity politics/advocacy clichés. I feel that if you can’t phrase it in “plain talk”, you probably don’t have as good a grasp on the concept as you think you do, and I greatly hope for more thoughtful, incisive discussion around our problems and finding solutions for them. We tend to hurl certain terms as weapons because they’re very charged. That impulse is counterproductive. We need to work out our problems with mutual respect. That can begin with the language we use.
HRH: I want a palace and a carriage and 10 white horses.
C: Those are changes you’d like to see in the world?
HRH: Well, sure. I don’t have those things now, so if I had them that would be a change in the world.
C: You have a point.
HRH: And I want people to stop being bullies, because bullies suck so hard. Being nice isn’t always easy, but it’s better.
#6: What are you doing to make those changes happen? That’s right all, no getting off the hook! We’re all in this big ol’ mess together, and we each need to do our part. Share with us how you’re the change you want to see.
HRH: Well, I don’t know. I just try not to BE a bully.
C: That’s pretty profound. Gandhi said to “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. That’s not just a cute bumper sticker phrase. We have to live our lives modeling our highest ideals. How else can we show others what we believe in and why it’s important? How else do we demonstrate that it can work? We have to show why our beliefs are, and that means living them.
HRH: Is that how you do all that stuff you said about talking plain?
C: Well, I try to, but a lot of time I fail and get all ranty.
C: That doesn’t help so much, but what can I say? I’m human.
HRH: Uh huh.
C: But it’s my aspiration to live that way, and our aspirations are important ideals we try to live up to.
HRH: Also, I toss pennies in fountains to wish for the palace and stuff.
C: ‘Cause it can’t hurt?
#7: Tell us something, anything, special and unique about you, your interests, your story. Never forget, gender is just one part of the larger project of becoming a fully authentic human being.
C: I’m a cartoonist. Did I mention that?
HRH: I’m a Princess.
HRH: I know, I know. “Cute little kid silliness”, right?
HRH: I think it’s more that I’m choosing to believe in the best in myself.
C: Like….. respecting yourself by choosing the best self-image possible?
HRH: If you truly believe you’re a Princess, then you are and nobody can take that away from you.
C: Can’t put it better. Thanks for joining me, Sarah.
HRH: Goodbye to all my loyal subjects! MWAH!!!!