My Favorite Transgender Author

The Favorite Nephew

There may be other authors I like who are trans and I just don’t know it because they don’t make an issue of it. And there are many ex-trans writers I admire. But of those unrepentant that I know, my favorite is the literary critic, Andrea (né Andrew) Long Chu. Not that I can stomach much of his writing, because I cannot. But he carries himself so passionately, and his honesty bombards us. His prose opens up his inner feelings with a sound like an electric can opener.


What comes out of the can is what it actually is like to go down the trans path, even when that honesty contradicts the cultural narrative. For this reason, I quote a New York Times article of his in Piece 14 of  Across the Kitchen Table. In it, Long Chu pours out his feelings while preparing to surgically alter his genitals to imitate a woman’s vagina (commonly called vaginoplasty). The cost, the increase in suicidal ideation, the usual “transitioning” despair, are all on full display.


So the experience of reading him is like watching a favorite nephew self-destruct. It means constantly asking “Oh, if only he saw what he is doing….”


The Dark World

Long Chu’s 2019 book length ruminations, Females, gives more of the author’s thought. I cannot recommend the book, because I don’t find the writing edifying. I am not sure why Long Chu engages in such vulgarity to express himself. Maybe he wishes to shock the reader. Or maybe it is just the world he lives in as long-term pornography addict. Probably it is a mixture of both. Sometimes I had to stop for a while to recover from the lewdness.


But I persisted to come across Long Chu’s occasional insight. One must wade through thigh-high obscenity to get to it, and some of the obtuseness inevitable, it seems, in gender theorizing, but one can find in Females a creative thinker struggling with truths about gender, about women and about men, truths too big for him to fully grasp. In each of the three, we see a memory of a forgotten good.


The Gender


Long Chu marks out gender as the expression of someone else’s desire. In this, he approaches the Biblical truth here that gender is about relationship. But he falls short in seeing the goodness of living our lives for others. So, instead he takes us on a dark journey into sadomasochism.


The Female

As usual, the discussion of the feminine includes only one kind of power. Andrea/Andrew claims that we are all female (backed up by some ingenious biological reasoning that females are more basic than males). He then defines that as the impulse to have something done to us, to be dominated rather than dominant, where “the self is sacrificed to make room for the desires of another.” Again, one can detect nuggets of a truth that have lodged in a dark concoction here.  If only our self-destructive nephew could step back and see the larger context. He is grasping at the Biblical willingness of an equal to surrender prerogative. It is not a desire but a call. And this can be a glorious call understood in the Kingdom of Christ. But Long Chu so denigrates women that female becomes a realm of despair. For him, not only are we all female, but we all hate it. If his conception of female were right, we should hate it. Bur rather, we should hate it and reject it as charicature.


The Male

When the literary critic speaks of men, he rightly divines the deep fear of a man to not be identified as a man. Again, this is the start of a great insight. But then the nephew misinterprets it as a desire to be a woman. In this, he fails to realize the quest that has been thwarted in himself. For the journey of manhood is to conquer that doubt, to be able to confront it and stare it down and recognize what God has created in him and call it good. Long Chu has long since veered from that voyage. So not only does he hate women, he hates men: “Being a man was my punishment for being a man.” He has lost any idea of the masculine as good. In that, he is not unlike most of our generation.


As I say, reading the writing of this sunless struggler presses the prayer: If only his eyes could be open to the gift that God offers him, he would not need to carry partial truths into his anguished gloom.


Do you know anyone like this in your life?


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