Porcfest is officially over, and it’s been an awesome experience. It has also been a bit of a roller coaster–half of my food was ruined upon arrival, my vapor broke within hours of arriving, the trip up cost me more than I expected (although, honestly, I’m not certain where the discrepancy lies), and this morning I am out of almost everything (cigarettes, food, estrogen), while it looks like we’re not leaving today. So I’m about to have a few very rough, difficult days until I get back home.
Regardless, it was absolutely worth it. I met a lot of really cool people, of course, but beyond that, I did more to further my libertarian reach in the last week than I’ve done in the past two months, and it’s with key figures in the liberty movement: Will Coley (obviously–Muslims 4 Liberty invited me up), Daryl Perry, Rodger Paxton, Eddie Something (does a radio show I’m going to be on), and some others–and I think my rant impressed Judd Weiss.
Speaking of the rant, it was phenomenally successful. While I don’t think it was my best rant, I know that it reached people and made many people think differently of trans people. One person approached me late last night to tell me that he’d rolled his eyes when he saw me in the Whova app, having stereotyped me as one of those SJW Libertarians we’re beginning to see, and that I blew his mind when I came out swinging so hard. Dozens of others said that same, that they were thrilled to see a trans person standing up and saying the things that needed to be said.
So what did I say? Well, you’ll probably have to wait for the YouTube video, when I’ll have cropped it, adjusted the audio, and hopefully fixed it from where the recorder (some random guy who awesomely did me the favor) flipped it portrait for a bit. In the meantime, here is the link on Facebook:
So it’s been awesome. I placed third, by the way, in Soapbox Idol, but many people felt that I should have won and only lost because of point inflation. No judge awarded less than a 3 at any point, and by the end of the competition they were handing out 5s almost unanimously. That I went so early in the process (second), and still placed third despite the point inflation is really cool.
But in a larger sense, I won, because Eddie hosts a national radio show and invited me on, got my contact info, and sent it to his producer. It’s hard to win harder than that, and I think it makes the case pretty well that I really won, and the points were skewed pretty badly… I’m sorry; I’m very competitive and don’t like losing.
While walking to Will’s hotel room yesterday to get a shower and prepare to go on stage (requiring makeup far beyond my normal makeup), I happened upon Rodger Paxton again, who asked if I was leaving. I don’t remember how the conversation flowed, but I told him I hoped to be an official speaker next year, and he was pleased at the idea, told me to add him on Facebook, and said we’d make that happen.
I wanted to do a second rant about communication, because dialogue is a lost art, which became increasingly apparent as things went on. Never was I able to finish making a statement unless I was on a stage holding a microphone.
It’s easy to see why this is the case, and it’s got nothing to do with being trans or female, despite the attempts some people have made to make it into a sexism thing. I’ve seen people of all genders interrupting people of all genders. Instead of listening, people are constantly thinking about what they want to say, and they want to say it before anyone else can speak up and shift the conversation. So Person B interrupts Person A to make B’s point, which is often tangential to A’s point, and A never gets to finish. Meanwhile, instead of listening, Person C is thinking about what they want to say, and they interrupt B near the end of B’s statement, but before B has actually finished.
There are no pauses in conversations any longer. People are afraid to pause, because if they stop talking for more than a fraction of a second, one of the people, like a lion hunting prey, will pounce, and Person A’s opportunity to speak will be lost.
That’s not the way conversations are supposed to work, and it’s why most people consider me to be very quiet. I’m not quiet. I just am extremely reluctant to interrupt people. Why? Because that’s rude as fuck. When someone is speaking, you should be listening, not licking your lips waiting for the speaker to breathe so you can say what you have to say. Wait until the person finishes, and then speak.
I initially handled this by re-interrupting and saying firmly, “Let me finish,” but it quickly became too frustrating to continue doing that. But there’s no way to get a word in during these “conversations” unless you interrupt someone, because it will be a constant flow of interruptions. If you’re waiting for a pause, then you’ll never speak.
The end result is that I spend a lot of time silently listening and observing. I’m fine with that, because it frees my brain to notice and ponder things if I’m not eagerly waiting for someone to take a breath so that I can impress them with my insight. One of the things I’ve noticed, for example, is the endless series of interruptions that conversations have devolved into.
Before leaving yesterday, I watched Will, Dan the Ice Cream Man, and another dude have one of these conversations. Will attempted six times to say something, and was interrupted the first five times by one of the other two who seized upon the first two or three words, assumed they knew what he wanted to say, and ran with it, cutting him off in the process. So, no, this isn’t a sexism thing, it’s not a trans thing. It’s an American thing.
We’re rude as hell.
I shouldn’t have to regularly tell (note: not ask) someone to not interrupt me and to let me finish. And why should I feel like the rude one for calling someone out on it and demanding they allow me to finish? That’s the opposite of the way it really is. If you interrupt, you’re the rude one; I’m not rude for pushing back and demanding to be allowed to finish. But try it some time–you’ll feel like you were rude. Of course, it works better if you don’t regularly interrupt people yourself.
I know we all have things we want to say, and we all feel that what we want to add to the conversation is valuable. So are we also afraid that if we don’t interrupt or interject prematurely (such as when the speaker breathes, and we know they aren’t actually finished). But I think we’ll find that if we allow others to finish speaking, they will allow us to finish, and together we can re-learn the lesson we learned when we were five years old: that it’s rude to interrupt people.