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Dear companions: Being that I was a fag before I was a boy and that I am now almost 51, go ahead and try to count the number of different skins and layers, internal folds, dimensions and facets I have had, the number of my cells that have lived and died, so to arrive to my current diversitiy of pronouns -they/them, she/her, he/his, it/its- and names -Jesusi, Jesusa, Chusa!, Jesús, Txus, Txusa, Txusi, Josu, Josune, María Jesús, and Jesúsín, provided there is enough tenderness in the spelling-. Now that I am greeting old age and death, being again a non-binary queer is for me to connect with my first years of life, to breathe sea air again after so much time. Living in my particular gender disorder, supported by my companions, connected in our differences by a beautiful “no” to a binary definition that can’t contain us and only makes us suffer.
Before calling myself politically and publicly a non-binary queer, on one occasion when I helped at Ladyfest and I had to sell merchandise, someone came up and looked me right in the eye: “Do you identify as a woman, dyke or trans?” Near to collapse, I stammered out: “Oh, I wish this was about my identifications, but I’m afraid it’s more about how you identify me.” We understood each other somehow, I believe. This is also why at times I doubt even this dis-identification, which as my admired Hache Mau points out, can be another colonial subdivision of genders. Here I must balance myself to try a careful writing.
In my body, when I am distracted, I see glitches of women, men, childs, old people, snakes, ghosts, plants. So to say: “Dears, I don’t know what I am.” I know that those of you who think you know will let me know, and that you will not agree in your many definitions. I know I’m not exactly a man, whatever that means, and not a woman, either. That does not prevent me from living, feeling pain, enjoying, and narrating myself, with a nod to Sandy Stone and her wonderful idea of genders as literary genres (in The Empire Strikes Back, and in its context referring to the genders of transsexuals). I know I am both body and text, symbol and matter, and I know that you are too. Tale material. So I will offer you five moments of my life, mythologized. Curiously, in these texts, the auto-corrector has not marked any words in red.
That day the air is cold and humid, with the usual trace of fog. The sky is gray. The leisure area is a cement box of about 30 meters, elongated and open on one side, on the third floor, under a skyscraper, oriented on the East-West axis. Gray. The air is filled with heavy metal particles and corrosive chemicals. The Navy Blue of the polyester work uniforms and tarnished shoes, the White of the well-ironed shirts and well-hidden underwear of the two groups. The uniforms of both differ slightly but the division is clear, and each one is located at either end of the box. The group from the far east argues, and as a result, one person is sent away. They point to the other group. After hesitating a bit, the expelled person obeys and goes to the other end. The group at the far west makes their typical “we do not agree, but we comply” sign, keeping its arms crossed. The figure remains on the edge of the West group as a temporary solution. The number of people in each group seems the same from far away and the difference between uniforms is imperceptible. Both groups continue doing nothing in particular until the bell rings to return to work. At that moment, they return in an orderly manner into the interior of the building, first the group from the East, then the group from the West and, lastly, the displaced person, who seems to be delaying arrival on purpose, as if plotting something, studying the two groups.
The screen allows transformation at high speed, a technique so fast that it can be confused with magic, which it must be since the transformation, under the name of identity theft, is a crime, to try to use it as little as possible and without abusing it, barely when feeling death on the back of the neck. The subsequent change is a rebirth, an escape from persecution. Only a blurry image remains of the former self in the background of the eye. The new self gains an extra life.
Their main qualities are curiosity and prudence, but in their way of being there is also lightness and the trembling of restrained agility. Their honey-colored fur shines and their gaze follows the leaps and pirouettes that their tendons imagine. They enter the forest, supposedly to pass through it, but when they are well in the middle, they call out softly. The beast comes, moving with a slow assurance that makes an exquisite contrast with their nerves. They look at each other and the piece sees their body reflected in miniature in the eyes of the beast. The moon changes, and the reflection becomes a table set with a tablecloth and delicious food. The beast, in turn, sees in their eyes its own body in miniature, and at the moment when some nearby leaves move, the image changes to a bowl full of all kinds of fruits. But it is no other than the beast who becomes scared. And in its eyes the reflection of the delicacies fade as the beast disappears into the bushes, hiding its frustration. A pair of eyes remain in the forest, full of fruits, which continue its journey confusing the birds and insects that appear in their gaze.
It’s cold, very cold, but they have to go through with the ritual and so they sit closer together. In the air there is a smell of medicinal plants, a clean, brisk wind with strong gusts and sudden changes in its course. Body heat ignites the natural principle, present in this specific mixture of herbs, and the spirits of the place light up. Blue flames and a great fire are born from the ether and it seems like they are going to drag the world to some unknown place. Someone transforms into a dragon, roaring and crawling, and someone else becomes a fairy, fluttering between flashes. They roam around at night scaring every living creature, and in the nearest village everyone stays awake huddling under their blankets, for if they sleep they have nightmares. Before dawn they return to human form. They agree not to repeat the ritual, but they are lying.
A clear, bright dawn and biting cold mean that they don’t care how fast they go moving from one work unit to another. Their wide eyes miss none of the details of the new landscapes and the small events they encounter on their way. Someone shouts an unintelligible farewell from afar, a stranded truck, merchants shouting and gesticulating, someone sings with all their lungs to the four winds, gigantic figures seem to watch over the road, new plants and strange birds greet the day like those from the corner of the world, though they are not the same. The most incredible thing is about to happen and nothing they have learned has prepared them for this. First, only two of them realize it, then four more, and finally the entire group crowds together, hugging, trembling, jumping, nearly falling as they try to continue the journey at the obligatory pace. The person driving them tries to impose discipline by shouting and pushing them but the wonderful image they see has an anesthetic effect on them. They hug each other, and between whispers and shouts they name or call the creature to them. As if everyone, including the apparition, had yet to completely realize that it was there already. It runs parallel to the road for a way, its body steaming, its gray hair shaking with every stride, and its bright fogged-up glass eyes set in black smoke, looking at them, smiling. A she-wolf! A she-wolf, they shout, exultant with the chance of naming a creature.