As of late I have had a sense of feeling lost in a nation full of subcultures. I sense that this is part of the polarization of American culture. There is no real American culture outside of the Native American traditions. The county is divided into subcultures, and at war with each other’s cultural concepts and values.
From my birth I was raised within a subculture. I was a child of the fifties, a “post war baby.” I was born into a racial culture that being an Irish catholic. Even that culture of Boston Irish was a mix of subcultures: the upper class Irish such as the Kennedy’s, and the lower class Irish such as the Carney’s. Even religiously there was a culture split. The Christian domination over the ancient Druids lead to the subculture of Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants. My childhood experiences in the Catholic Church were not good. I do see religions as a subculture. I have been involved with the Catholic, Episcopalian, and Unitarian Universalist Churches. They indeed have there own unique cultures.
In recent years I have witnessed the erosion of “separation of church and state” doctrine, as we all have. This in my opinion is the biggest threat that the United States has ever confronted, the attack on the constitution by sub-cultural fundamentalist and other Christian wings. Growing up in a mixed housing project in Boston I was exposed to many racial cultures. Today I see that as a blessing. America’s greatest failure has been its racial segregation and the huge racial-class divide. We would be a far better nation had we some how interweaved our racial cultures rather then grow into a divided cultural nation. Gender and sexual culture are big in my list of subcultures these days.
Sexually I have been labeled with being a heterosexual, gay, lesbian and bisexual. Gender-wise I have been called Sir, Maim and, it, over the years. All of these groups have their subculture. Heterosexuals have subcultures of single, married, divorced, asexual etc. The LGBT is a mishmash of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender subcultures. I have come to the conclusion that I will go to my grave never figuring out where I fit into that mishmash. Now the Transgender community, talk about a collection of subcultures: cross-dressers, drag queens (kings) /show performers, intersex, Two-spirited, androgynous, butch lesbians, fem bois, Transsexuals. The subcultures of transsexuals: trans men, trans women, pre-op, post-op, non-op. transgenderist. Even in this subculture of late I feel lost. I am not a real woman; I never was a real man. I am tied of being called a trans-woman. I some times call me self third-gendered.
Do I fit in anywhere? I have been given some thought to moving to San Francisco and changing my name back to John Joseph. Getting a men’s haircut, growing a beard, binding my breast, and joining the trans-men sub culture. Who knows maybe as a trans- man I could fit in with the lesbian culture, maybe even end up in an intimate relationship!
Born in Cambridge, Mass., Janice Josephine Carney is the author of several books including One Heart One Mind: Memories of My Year in Vietnam, July 1970-71, a memoir about her time in Vietnam, and Purple Hearts and Silver Stars, which tells the story of her transition and of her struggles as a Vietnam Veteran with PTSD.