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Masculine Trans-formations in Jackie Kay's Trumpet

M an dy Koolen , Southam pton Solent University, England, is a trans ally who is invested in exploring the ability of literature to inspire em pathetic identifications with transsexual, transgender, and queer people. She has published in W omen's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Contemporary Literature , LGBTQ America Today , and the Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States . Abstract Jackie Kay's novel Trumpet shows that transphobic beliefs m ay negatively affect not only trans-people but also cis-people. T rum pet ex p lo re s th e s ex /g e n d er transform ations that all people experience a n d s u g ges ts that pers e c u tio n s o f trans-people m ay work to distract cis-people from their own ultim ate inability to fully em body gender ideals. Résum é Le rom an Trumpet par Jackie Kay m ontre que les croyances trans - phobiques peuvent affecter de façon négative non seulem ent les personnes trans m ais aussi les personnes cis. Trumpet explore les transform ations de sexes/genres dont toutes les personnes font l’expérience et suggère que les persécutions des personnes trans pourraient s’avérer à distraire les personnes cis de leur propre ultim e inhabilité d’accepter entièrem ent les idéals des hom m es et des fem m es. Much contem porary transsexual and transgender literature em phasizes the devastating effects that transphobia has on the bodies and m inds of trans-people. Jackie Kay contributes to this im portant body of literature with her novel Trumpet (1999) which is set after the death of Joss Moody, a jazz m usician who had a fem ale body but lived his adulthood as a m an. Trumpet provides an unusual critique of transphobia by highlighting the ways that transphobic beliefs m ay negatively affect not only trans-people but also cis-people - that is, those who are not transsexual or transgender.1 By foregrounding the views of cis-characters instead of a trans-protagonist, this novel prom otes interrogations of the thought processes of cis-people and the possible biases they hold while discouraging readers from pathologizing and exoticizing Joss.2 Trumpet shows that the belief that gender identity should reflect one's natal sex m ay hinder the developm ent of potentially fulfilling relationships with trans-people and restrict the gender options and expressions of all people. W hile those who knew Joss when he was alive cannot rewrite their m em ories of him as a m an, they also cannot erase the fact of his fem ale corpse. Thus, in order to reconcile Joss's m aleness and fem aleness they - like readers of Trumpet - m ust recognize the lim its and exclusionary nature of the m ale/fem ale gender binary. I begin this paper by exploring how Kay's depiction of the bodily transform ations that are experienced by cis-people troubles representations of trans-people as perverse and "other." Next, I turn m y attention to the relationship between Joss and his adopted son, Colm an, and exam ine the consequences of the hyperm asculine transphobia that Colm an expresses. I conclude by discussing Colm an's reidentification with Joss which, I PR Atlantis 35.1, 2010


having Joss be a m usician in this later period com plicates readings of him as "passing" for the sake of his career. such as Leslie Feinberg and Jason Crom well. In this paper.. 2). Thus. and no-op).in order to find em ploym ent or in an attem pt to escape sexist and/or hom ophobic oppression. or lack of access to m edical services. Joss's m usical career as a trum peter reflects his gender lim inality since the trum pet has an "am bivalent form " (Monterrey 2000. while extending out from the body like a phallus. 2010 PR www. reflects his acceptance of his father's gender com plexity and. 83-84). race. 55) since Joss is a trum peter "in the 1960s.] persons who have chosen to perform am biguous social genders. Som e transsexual people do not take horm ones or have surgery because of the invasiveness of m edical observation. a white Am erican jazz pianist who "passed" as a m an (Feinberg 1996. Kay's depiction of Joss thus works to foster intersectional analyses of oppression by encouraging readers to consider the "inextricability of racial issues from ones of gender. transvestites. a trum pet also has "a concave end. As Tom as Monterrey notes. in order to avoid confusion in this paper. post. identify to som e degree as both fem ale and m ale.1. I have only used transgender in the latter m ore specific m anner.4 Joss's gender lim inality is signalled through not only his career choice but also his fond reflections on his past as a girl.and Cis-People Trumpet was inspired by the life of Billy Tipton (1914-1989). in challenging the tendency of historians to read people in the past who cross-dressed as "really" being wom en or lesbians who "passed" solely for strategic reasons . Yet. his own. This approach m ay prom ote trans-sensitivity am ong cis-readers who are new to thinking about trans issues but are fam iliar with and feel em pathy for the struggles that are experienced by people who are of m ixed race or m ixed nationality. on the other hand. 172). Kay thus joins trans theorists. "W hen Joss plays it [… ] the phallic trum pet physically com pensates for his absence of m ale sexual m em bers" (172).3 Kay m ade m any significant changes to Tipton's character and life story in her depiction of Joss Moody as a m ixed-race jazz trum peter who resides in both Scotland and England.msvu. the health risks involved with horm one replacem ent therapy and genital reassignm ent surgery. W hile in m y everyday life I alternate between using "transgender" as an um brella term and in a m ore specific m anner to refer to people whose gender identity or appearance is in an "in-between state" ("Transgender" 2009). These changes highlight Joss's position as som eone who em bodies lim inality in term s of his gender. Trumpet establishes connection s between the s oc ia l m arginalization of people of m ixed race/nationality and trans-people. sexuality. [. Transgender is often used as an um brella term th a t e n c om p a s s e s "transsexuals (pre. com bining thus the m asculine and the fem inine in its form " (172). crossdressers. and nationality. His acceptance of his girlhood is apparent in the section of Trumpet entitled "Music" that gives readers insight into his thoughts and 72 Atlantis 35. I use the term "transsexual" to refer to people who are cross-sex identified.argue. It is notable not only that Kay m akes Joss a trum peter rather than a pianist but also that she sets "Joss Moody's m usical career [… ] m uch later than Tipton's" (Eckstein 2006. This definition recognizes that transsexual people m ay or m ay not take horm ones or have surgery to m ake their bodies reflect their sex/gender identities. and generation" (Clandfield . and thereby aim s to com plicate the usual privileging of acts over identities in definitions of transsexual people as those who m edically alter their bodies.. class. not the 1930s" (King 2001. in turn. Tracing Gender Fluidity in Trans. 102). and persons who have chosen to perform no gender at all" (Stone 1999). in this essay "transgender" refers to people who do not identify as either fem ale or m ale or. As it would have been m ore likely that a fem ale trum pet player could find em ploym ent as a jazz m usician in the 1960s.

ca/atlantis PR Atlantis 35. As a result. Colm an. She is another tide entirely" (8). By depicting it as "liberating" to be both a girl and a m an.msvu.subscribing to either m asculinity and m aleness or fem ininity and fem aleness for the duration of one's life . 136). rub the cheeks and get a shock at the stubble" (67). Joss's celebration of both his past and present genders troubles the notion that people who are transsexual necessarily find their youths oppressive because they disidentify with their sex and consequently struggle with their gender identity at an early age. The girl I was has been swept out to sea. "I am not the girl or the wom an that I once was" (157). In turn. In a red dress. 254).1. and thus he m ay be read as transgender (as per m y earlier definition of this term ). noting.and trans-people. "The voice suddenly goes like som ething falling through a floor. Joss's happiness in his youth com plicates the notion that all tr a n s s e x u a l p e o p le h a v e m is e ra b le c h ild h o o d s a n d s u g g e s ts th a t th e stereotypical transsexual narrative of feeling born into the wrong body does not reflect the experiences of all transsexual people. Joss's wife Millicent asserts. For instance. reflecting on the process of aging. Transphobia as Self-Harm Throughout most of Trumpet. Due to the predom inance of representations of transsexuality in the m edia and the fact that Joss lives his adulthood as a m an. skipping along the railway line with a long cord his m other had m ade into a rope. Colm an's appearance continues to change until one day "The boy is gone" (67) and in his place there is a m an. "It feels so long ago. W hen you wake in the m orning. Although Joss seem s to disidentify with his past. he m ay also be read as transsexual. To be a girl. That girl" (132). years ago. Som ebody else. A happy little girl" (254-255). It is thus useful to consider how Kay's description of Joss m ay trouble stereotypical beliefs about transsexual people. Kay's narrative encourages readers to think critically about how the opposite . thinking that in his youth "he was som ething else. Her. this novel com plicates the view that there is som ething perverse about the sex/gender changes that trans-people experience. she disidentifies with who she was as a child. Joss skips along in a dress "carrying a bunch of railway flowers for her m other" (132) and is described as looking "just like a little girl. Colm an becom es angry. The contrast between Joss's fem inine appearance and actions in his childhood and his adult expression of m asculinity encourages readers to reflect upon how gender expressions and identities m ay change over tim e. Colm an's transform ation from a boy into a m an resem bles Joss's transform ation from a girl into a m an which creates a parallel between cis. Not m e. To be a m an" (135). bitter and depressed. Sim ilar to Millicent who describes the m ental and physical changes that are brought about by aging.m ay be lim iting and restrictive. and www. Joss's son. he also asserts that "He is him self again. stating. Through the years. describes his transform ation at puberty. Furtherm ore. As a child. After seeing his father's naked corpse. This novel thus prom otes acceptance of de-essentialized understandings of gender form ation and highlights the im portance of respecting whatever gender identification one has at a given tim e. "self-pitying bastard" (50) who fails to em pathize with Joss. on som e level. Kay underm ines readings of Joss as always h aving ex perienc ed cros s -s e x /g e n d er identification by reiterating that he was not a tom boy in his girlhood (250.experiences while he inhabits a transitional state between life and death (Kay 1999.and cis-people undergo sex/gender transform ations. Colm an is depicted as a hostile. It is liberating. Millicent changes from a girl to a wom an to an older wom an and loses the reckless abandonm ent that she had in her youth. as both fem ale and m ale. This statem ent suggests that Joss identifies. it is as if it was som ebody else who lived that part of m y life. 2010 73 . Trumpet m ay thereby prom ote awareness of the diversity am ong the experiences of those who are transsexual. Trumpet com plicates tendencies to "other" transsexual and transgender people by showing that both trans. The face gets itchy and rough.

C o l m a n a ls o d e s c r i b e s heterosexual cis-m en as "ram m ing it in" when they have sex with wom en which underm ines his attem pt to establish a clear-cut divide between him self as a cis-m an and his father as a trans-m an. a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory fram e that congeal over tim e to produce the appearance of substance. and thus in response to learning that his father did not have a penis. Considering the v e h e m e n t tr a n s p h o b ia th a t C o lm a n expresses . My father was never tossed off. a fact that throws the authenticity of his own m asculinity into question. My father had tits. Trumpet thereby highlights that transphobia m ay be destructive not just for trans-people but also for cis-people. As Colm an was born in Scotland and raised in England. or rammed it in . Colm an experiences his penis in an exaggerated form . i r o n i c a l l y .distances him self from his friends and his fam ily. He never stuck it up. W hat did he have down his pants? A cunt . of his m aleness in contrast to his father's "perform ed" and "inauthentic" m asculinity." "psycho" (63) and "freak" (64) . Colm an's repeated assertion that his father had "tits" and a "pussy" but did not have a "dick" or "balls" reflects his struggle to reconcile the m ateriality of his father's body with his persistent m em ory of him as a m that it? Or did he wear a dildo? Shit. never had a blow job. Colm an adopts an aggressive transphobic and m isogynist hyperm asculinity. Sim ilar inconsistencies in Colm an's train of thought are apparent throughout Trumpet and highlight his struggle to com e to term s with his father's sex/gender in relation to his own m asculinity. 43-44). of a natural sort of being" (Butler seem s here that he is attem pting to position his father's m aleness as inferior to his own by asserting that Joss would be incom petent at using a dildo because "he would have ram m ed it in. Had a hard-on. In Colm an's m ind the penis is the central signifier of m aleness. After seeing his father's naked corpse. Colm an's lack of em pathy for his father throughout m ost of Trumpet is ironic considering that he is also. My father didn't have any balls" (61). He object that m ay be read as allowing for a physical bridging of fem aleness and m aleness. "My father had is evident in his descriptions of his father as a "pervert. "His cock seem s bigger since his father died. he would have rammed it in . I prom ise you" (em phasis added 169). do not contain the com plexity of sex and gender for any of us" (Pratt 1996. He's losing it" (140). a socially m arginalized subject who em bodies lim inality. Judith Butler argues that "Gender is the repeated stylization of the body. As Colm an's transphobia and self-enforced isolation stem from the crisis of m asculinity that he experiences upon learning that his m ale role m odel had breasts and a vagina.msvu. Colm an's belief that his penis is bigger. His reflection that he is "losing it" indicates that his intensified experience of the phallus is a fantastical coping m echanism that helps him to deal with the newfound knowledge that his m asculine role m odel did not have a penis." Yet. Bigger and harder [… ] There's m ore com e too since his father died. 2010 PR www. My father didn't have a dick. Colm an thinks. Colm an's description of Joss as "not having any balls" also functions on a figurative level since Colm an refuses to acknowledge the bravery that it takes to defy sex/gender norm s in transphobic societies. Colm an resists recognizing the process of repetition and m im icry that has led to his adult gender expression since this would involve accepting that his identity as a m an is strongly inform ed by his father's "fake" m asculinity. on m any levels. but it's definitely true. That's weird. Colm an reflects on the possibility that Joss wore a strap-on dildo . both his nationality and 74 Atlantis 35. never spilt his seed. If he did." and thus superiority.1. "My father never got a leg over. He reflects that. Colm an's desire to naturalize his gender is apparent in the em phasis that he places on the m ateriality of the m ale body and his obsession with his . Trumpet shows the potentially devastating effects of not acknowledging that "the categories m ale and fem ale. and m ore potent than when Joss was alive reflects an attem pt to assert the "realness. harder. My father had a pussy. 21).

Sim ilarly. Sophie's book reinscribes disturbing m edia tendencies to position the transgender person as "a perennial cultural c u r i o s i t y : s e n s a t i o n a l. W hat does it m atter anyway?" (58). Colm an com es to love and respect his father once again. Colm an's frustration highlights the difficulty of inhabiting a racially lim inal space that is widely considered incom prehensible and. and thereby develop personal and political alliances with each other if they are willing to recognize these sim ilarities while also attending to and respecting their different experiences. as the public washroom is a place where m uch transphobic violence occurs. 24). He is repeatedly asked where he is from .ethnicity are lim inal. Colm an fails to see parallels between his and Joss's experiences and shows little em pathy for his father. Furtherm ore. Sophie sim ilarly negates Joss's experiences as a m an by understanding his m asculinity as a "perform ance" that gives "her" a thrill. Colm an starts to reidentify with Joss and reflects upon som e of the difficulties that Joss experienced as a trans-m an. Trinidad. Judith Halberstam notes that Sophie resem bles Diane Middlebrook who wrote a biography of Billy Tipton's life in which she underm ined Tipton's gender identity and depicted his wives as "betrayed" and "deceived" (Halberstam 2001. 128). consequently. 2010 75 .5 It is unlikely that after years of living as a m an Joss experienced his gender as a thrilling gam e." Colm an asserts.6 As Crom well explains. His assertion that he "didn't feel Scottish. Going about the place taking everybody in. Didn't feel English either" (51) shows that he em bodies a space between or beyond geographical borders. like Joss. for the m ajority of Trum pet. Colm an is also an adopted child who belongs neither fully to Joss and Millicent nor to his unknown birthparents. Sophie's rhetorical choice to refer to Joss with fem ale pronouns shows how language can be used to violently erase tra n s -people's identities and g e n d e r expressions while sim ultaneously reaffirm ing sex/gender binaries. didn't she ?" (em phasis added 263). Colm an's shifting view of Joss conveys the m essage that even people who are vehem ently transphobic m ay have their prejudiced beliefs altered if they allow th e m s e lv e s to d e v e l o p e m p a th e tic identifications with those who are transgender or transsexual. he is of m ixed race. Morocco. for those www. "the next fucker that asks m e where I com e from I'm going to say. didn't she ? She liked the big cover up. Trumpet thus docum ents Colm an's m ove from rejecting Joss and denying the influence that Joss had over his gender form ation to rem em bering his father's kindness and. fascinating" (Norton 1997. 140). yes. a b o m in a b l e . She got a buzz going to the invasive question that im plies that because he is not white he m ust be nationally and ethnically "other. He notes that the adoption agency described him as "'a find'" because his skin was "the sam e kind of colour" as Joss's skin (50).1. Empathy and Emotional Reconnection W hile. Sophie "realizes" that Joss "liked wearing those bandages. in turn. Trumpet encourages readers to recognize how people who em body lim inality in regards to their race or gender m ay share certain experiences. and thereby troubles racial boundaries. Colm an's affective change is first alluded to when he starts to feel guilty about selling his father's story to Sophie Stone. the prevalence of binary thinking about sex and gender and the presum ptions that people m ake about Joss's sex based on his gender expression m ake it difficult and dangerous for Joss to be open about the disjunction between his m aterial body and his gender even am ong those who love him . a journalist who is interviewing Colm an because she plans to write a book about Joss that characterizes him as a "weirdo" (125) and pervert (126.msvu. or any place they ask. I com e from Hawaii. Furtherm ore. near the end of this novel. Sophie's recasting of the danger experienced by trans-people in this public yet private space as "thrilling" dem onstrates insensitivity to th o s e w h o e x p e r ie n c e t r a n s p h o b ic oppression. Going to the PR Atlantis 35. repudiated in societies that are obsessed with the black/white dichotom y.

1. Colm an could use this photo to situate his father as a wom an. the fact that Colm an does not feel bitter toward his father for depriving him of a relationship with his grandm other suggests that Colm an has gained em pathy for Joss. "I am Colm an M oody.msvu. Coorie in. My father used to m ake brilliant hot toddies for things like that. He'll always be daddy to m e" (259).who "pass" as m en. Colm an tells Sophie that he cannot continue helping her with the book. Colm an does violence both to his father's m em ory and to him self. On the other hand. 223-224) and his vow to always drink Scottish m alt because "His father was a m alt fanatic" (213). Thinking about what Sophie's book will look like. Colm an's and his father's identities are very m uch interconnected. Cloves and shit" (161). This is a "waste" for not only Joss and Edith but also Colm an since he grows up without knowing his paternal grandm other. Colm an im agines a "photograph of his father as a little girl [… ] with sinister captions. Kay writes that Colm an "can't get away with it. Colm an thinks. Edith . Regardless of his transphobic diatribes and his verbal repudiation of his father. Now that he's seen the little girl. older white wom an who Joss had told Colm an was dead . His father keeps com ing back to him . In light of the hostility that Colm an expresses toward Joss throughout m ost of Trumpet. he says and tucks him into bed" (256). This statem ent signals Colm an's acceptance of Joss as both his father and m a s c u lin e ro le m odel. He won't let him alone. the son of Joss Moody. the fam ous trum pet player. which. O fte n w hen discovered. and thus by helping Sophie develop a sensationalizing and pathologizing depiction of Joss. Colm an is haunted by an interaction with his father that em phasizes Joss's gender lim inality as he perform s the stereotypically m aternal act of tucking his son into bed. where it is safe and warm and sm ells of old wom an" (243) highlights the strong attachm ent to her that develops in just a few hours. 12)." As Julia Serano explains.helps Colm an to gain an understanding of the difficulties Joss faced as a trans-m an. Colm an wants to "get away with" still seeing Joss as a m an. He asserts. he can see som ething fem inine in his m em ory of his father's face that m ust have been there all along" (241). coorie in. 2010 PR www. After im agining what Sophie's depiction of his father will look like. After their m eeting. C olm an's reidentification with Joss is further evident in his self-reflexive use of phrases that were used by his father (185. Colm an's guilt m anifests itself in a sore throat which reflects his desire to stop collaborating with Sophie and also evokes m em ories of his father's caring nature. 62). thereby exaggerating the 'artificiality' of their identified sex" (Serano 2007. One m ight expect Colm an's personal investm ent in his father's m aleness and m asculinity to lead him to refuse to see any connection at all between his father and the photo of Josephine. "There is always som e risk of being found out and m arginalized as a res ult. physical. [… ] irrespective of the duration of their lives as m en. This m em ory thus calls upon Colm an to recognize and em brace Joss's gender com plexity. the "before" photos of transsexual people are often used "to em phasize the 'naturalness' of the trans person's assigned sex [at birth]. The sym bolic violence of having one's identity disavowed upon being "discovered" to be "passing" is often coupled with extrem e acts of verbal. in turn. Yet Colm an's 76 Atlantis . they are turned back into wom en and again m ade invisible" (1999. and even sexual violence. Meeting Joss's m other. He won't stop it. and thus "other. Colm an's longing to return "to the house of Edith Moore. Colm an tells Sophie. Colm an's reidentification with his father becom es apparent through his growing feeling of discom fort about collaborating with Sophie and his persistent m em ories of his father's kindness. encourages readers to contem plate the fam ilial sacrifices that Joss m ade in order to live as a m an. "How could his father have stopped seeing her? W hat a waste" (242). After Edith gives Colm an a photo of Joss as a girl. "I'm starting to get a sore throat. It's like there's fucking gravel in m y throat or som ething.

. He "carries the photograph [of Josephine] gently. "W hatever it is. you. Colm an still sees him as a m an and as his father which suggests that he is m oving toward an acceptance of Joss's gender lim inality. fem inine or m asculine. of the responsibility that he has to protect his father from being m isread by having the com plexities of his gender erased. his heart" (276). They were darker than m ine. Has to save her. in this letter Joss recounts his father's history. C o lm a n 's d e s ir e to p ro te c t Joss/Josephine is also apparent in the dream s in which he saves him /her from destruction. in turn. The girl takes a liking to him and starts to play with him.] Colman puts the deaf.. noting that both he and Edith were "changed for ever by the death of [his father] John Moore" (276).. Maybe one day you'll understand m ine" (276). 2010 77 . The girl has a mass of curly black hair. Trumpet provides a general com m entary on fathers as powerful m ale role m odels by creating a parallel between Joss and Colm an who both adopt aspects of their father's personas after their deaths. Colm an now asserts. W hile Colm an refuses to open this letter throughout m ost of Trumpet because he expects it to contain "a list of excuses and reasons" (65) for his father "lying" about his identity. I was on m y own then.msvu.. Rather than suggesting that there is som ething unusual about Joss's identification with his father.response to this photo does not position his father as clearly fem ale or m ale. curly-haired girl on his back. W e've all changed nam es. m y father. T r um p e t d is c o u ra g e s pathologizing readings of Joss's cross-gender identification as being caused by a m elancholic response to his father's death. docum ents. m e. He is going to have to save her from drowning / [. he m eets . Has to. his tie to b la c k c u ltu re . he's up for it. The sim ilarities between cis.] He has got a little girl's life on his back. W e've all got that in com m on. [and] www.. his father.and trans-m en are also highlighted when Joss writes to Colm an that the m en in their fam ily "keep changing nam es. Joss reflects. His assertion that after his father dies he is on his own even though his white m other is still alive and caring for him im plies that his identification with his father was strengthened by their sim ilar racial experiences. Must have taken him som e tim e to write" (270). This assertion encourages readers of Trumpet to recognize that the subjectivities of both trans.a small girl. Looking at PR Atlantis 35. Instead of destroying his "letters. She is deaf. photographs. Joss's com parison of his and his fa th e r's h a n ds su g g e s ts th a t J o s s (sub)consciously m odelled his m asculinity on his m em ory of his father. his lifeline.1. He has to save her. Altho ug h Joss's cross-gender expression m ay help him to keep alive m em ories of his father and. Rather. at least on a subconscious level.. com paring it to m y own.. Colm an's decision to read the letter that Joss wrote to him before he died signals a newfound desire to understand his father's gender. Rather than providing a detailed account of his gender transform ation. m aking sure he will not dam age it" ( 2 4 2 ). like himself. "I m issed holding his black hand in the street. he becom es able to see " something fem inine in his m em ory of his father's face" (em phasis added 241).and cis-people transform during their lives. records. Looking at m y own hand. This photo leads Colm an to develop a newfound investm ent in shielding Joss/Josephine from those who are unwilling to accept the nuances of his father's gender. All for different reasons. (em phasis original 260) This dream reflects Colm an's recognition.] Suddenly the whole place starts to fill with water [. Colm an's decision to open the letter im plies an affective shift: he now seem ingly expects it to contain m ore than "excuses and reasons" and is willing to learn about his father's experiences. It is a long letter. In one dream .. He opens it carefully. trying to rem em ber m y father's lines. Then she leads him down to the basement [. W hile recognizing an elem ent of fem ininity in Joss.

but com es to identify and live as a m em ber of the other sex. Burn the lot. In this paper. "every aspect of a person's gender expression and sex will not be consistently either m asculine or fem inine. But m ost of all. 21). this silence suggests that he has entered a m ore contem plative. I thought to m yself. out of an attem pt to deny gender lim inality in the self since persecutions of trans-people distract cis-people from their own ultim ate inability to fully exem plify "ideal" or "pure" m asculinity or fem ininity.certificates" (276). Trumpet highlights the dam age that cis-people do not only to trans-people but also to them selves when rejecting those who are transgender or transsexual. I oftentim es use the general term "readers" (as opposed to specifying cisreaders or trans-readers) in order to encourage contem plations of the affect that the critique of transphobia in Trumpet m ay have on both cis. By passing his personal history onto Colm an. m an or wom an" (1996. Notably. rather than having Colm an overtly declare full acceptance of his father. Colm an's increased em pathy for Joss shows that it is possible to shed transphobic beliefs and alludes to the benefits of cis-people acknowledging and accepting the sex/gender identifications of trans-people. "W e do not learn details of Colm an's response to the letter" (Clandfield 2002. Joss writes to Colm an. I sat down here this m orning all set to destroy all of this. 19) and we are not told what Colm an says to his m other upon reuniting with her. including both Millicent's role as his m other and Joss's role as his father. Joss resists the silencing of his past that he has experienced all of his life. In light of Colm an's verbose transphobia throughout this novel. 78 Atlantis 35. Laura W oodhouse explains that this term is valuable as it "enables us to recognise and challenge the privileges that cis people benefit from " (W oodhouse 2009). His assertion that burning these papers would do violence not only to him self but also to his son highlights the interconnectedness of their identities.msvu." it is generally believed to be "first coined by Carl Buijs. I stopped m yself. Colm an's expression of em pathy and love for his father at the end of Trumpet sends a powerful m essage regarding the value of cis-people accepting gender com plexities in others and in them selves. em pathetic. I couldn't do that to m yself. Colm an's self-enforced isolation com es to an end when he decides to m ake the long journey to go see his m other in Torr at the end of Trumpet. who could m ake sense of all this? Then I thought of you. 2. In addition to challenging transphobic beliefs that are held by cis-people. Trumpet em phasizes the im portance of recognizing and accepting that. as fem m e theorist Minnie Bruce Pratt aptly notes. I couldn't do it to you. Endnotes 1. As Julia Serano explains. in 1995" (Koyam a 2002). is called a 'transsexual' (because they have crossed from one sex to the other). and trans-sensitive state of being. at least in part.' whereas 'cis' m eans 'on the sam e side of. "'Trans' m eans 'across' or 'on the opposite side of. . This trip signals that Colm an has com e to term s with the kinship bonds that he rejected after his father's death. Kay chooses to have Colm an be silent at the end of Trumpet.1. then the som eone who lives and identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth is called a 'cissexual'" (Serano 2009). to m y m usic. (276-277) Joss's refusal to destroy his history challenges the notion that trans-people necessarily want to erase their pasts. a transsexual m an. Colm an's initial resistance to recognizing sim ilarities between his and his father's m asculinities suggests that transphobic violence arises. Although there are ongoing debates about the origins of the term "cissexual. If I do that I'd literally be burning myself.and trans-people. I am leaving m yself to you. Joss chooses to leave the archive of his life to Colm an.' So if som eone who was assigned one sex at birth. 2010 PR www. it is im portant to recognize that Trumpet m ay also counter internalized transphobia in trans readers.

See. fem ale cross-dressers preferred the occupations of sailor and soldier even though these two professions offered a m inim al degree of privacy. asserts that. 5. San Francisco: Cleis P. a n d S e x u a litie s ." References Butler. for instance. Elisabeth Krim m er's In the Company of Men: Cross-Dressed W omen Around 1800 (2004). P. and thereby negates trans-m en's experiences of them selves as m en. 6. J. 39). in particular their discussions of Billy Tipton. As Jason Crom well explains. Julie W heelwright's Amazons and Military Maids: W omen W ho Dressed as Men in the Pursuit of Life. for instance. Cham paign. 2002. 2010 79 . thus exposing the crossdresser to a proportionally larger risk of discovery. The term "passing" reinforces the idea that when trans-people "pass" they hide their "true" sex from the world. (Kim m er 2004. she im plies that they actually chose this work because of these dangers and the related "excitem ent and adventure" associated with the act of crossdressing. P. Crom well. Am sterdam : Rodopi. Transmen and FTMs: Identities. "transsexed m en" (xxi). Teresa Hubel. ed. For critiques of historical texts that ignore the possibility that strong crosssex/gender identification existed in the past see Leslie Feinberg's Transgender W arriors (1996) and Jason Crom well's Transmen and FTMs (1999).1 (2006): 51-63. Illinois: University of Illinois Press. "W hat Is In My Blood?: Contem porary Black Scottishness and the W ork of Jackie Kay. Surprisingly. PR Atlantis 35. and uses m ale pronouns when talking about transsexual wom en. 1997. L. Sophie's reading of Joss reflects the belief am ong som e historians that cross-dressing in the past was a pleasurable source of excitem ent for wom en. pp. "Perform ing Jazz. The Transsexual Empire (1994) in which Janice Raym ond refers to m ale-tofem ale transsexual people as "m ale-toconstructed fem ales" (xxi). Defying Essence: Music as a Metaphor of Being in Jackie Kay's Trumpet. I place "pass" in quotation m arks in order to signal the problem atics of this term .msvu." Literature and Racial Ambiguity . B o d ie s . Clandfield. For a powerful critique of Raym ond's transphobic depictions of transsexuality see Pat(rick) Califia's Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism (1997). J. This belief presupposes an essentialist connection between one's sex designation at birth and one's gender identity and it supports disturbing characterizations of trans-people as deceptive liars. Elisabeth Krim m er. Liberty and Happiness (1989). m any FTMs and trans-m en feel they are being seen as their true selves in living. The fact that fem ale cross-dressers aspired to these careers in spite of such substantial obstacles suggests that they were not only interested in securing a livelihood but also in exchanging a m onotonous existence for one that prom ised excitem ent and adventure. For an exam ple of how language can be used as a transphobic weapon see. Krim m er thus identifies part of the pleasure of cross-dressing as the "thrill" of potential discovery and fails to address the danger involved with "passing. 1-25. New York: Routledge. and behaving as m en" (1999. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity .1. Eckstein." ZAA 54. 27) Although Krim m er is intrigued by the fact that "wom en" chose such careers "in spite of" the dangers of discovery.3. dressing. 4. To describe trans-m en as "passing" im plies that they are "really" wom en. for instance. G e n d e r s . www. Califia. 1999. "Rather than passing. Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism . and Ellen Galford's historical novel Moll Cutpurse: Her True History (1984).

Serano. In the Company of Men: Cross-Dressed W omen Around 1800. J. " P a s s in g : I d e n t it y a n d Interpretation in Sexuality. www. M. "Cissexual/Cisgender. M. Galford.htm l>." Live Journal. 2007. juliaserano.1. sandystone. Raym ond. 6 July 2 00 2. Lesbian. T. J. and Transgender B i o g r a p h y . 2. pp. J. Transgender W arriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Rupaul." 28 March 1999. W hipping Girl: A Transsexual W oman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity . S. Amazons and Military Maids: W om en W ho Dressed as Men in the Pursuit of Life. Trumpet. "'Brain Says You're a Girl." Eminism . E. Kay.Feinberg. But I Think You're a Sissy Boy': Cultural Origins of Transphobia. L. New York: Teachers College Press. Liberty and Happiness . "W hipping Girl FAQ. W eb. 1996.msvu. York: New York _____." Journal of Gay. "Transgender. and Religion . "Telling Tales: Brandon Teena.2 (1997): 139-64. 80 Atlantis 35. 1999." T-Vox. eds. 13-37.htm l>." Scottish Studies Review 2. 2004. W eb.thefword. 8 July 2009. J. m stl. Boston: Pandora. vox. The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male . E." The F-W ord: Contemporary UK Feminism . 9 M a y 2 0 1 0 . 1984. 21 April 2010.htm l Krim m er. J. 1989. em inism . 6 M ay 2010. E. 1996.1 (2001): 101-08.livejournal. King. 18 May 2009. Halberstam . "'A W om an's a Man for a' That': Jackie Kay's Trumpet. W oodhouse. Pratt. W heelwright. J. S/he . W eb. 23 February 2009. "Julia Serano on 'Cis'. Schlossberg. Moll Cutpurse: Her True History . Boston: Beacon Press. "A Scottish Metam orphosis: Jackie Kay's Billy Tipton.php?title=Transgender. New York: New York University Press. 10 pars. W ould You Like Theory with That? W . London: Picador. Koyam a. and Bisexual Identity . /trans. W eb ." Revista Canaria de Estuios Ingleses 41 (2000): /14700. ano_on>. 1994. 2010 PR www. 14 May 2009. 6 M ay 2010. Berkeley: Seal Press. New University Press. Edinburgh: Stram ullion. Sanchez and L. Detroit: W ayne State University Press. 2001. J. L. "Transgender.