Not Every Form of Horror is Worth its Price


A famosa cena do hermafrodita no "Satyricon" de Fellini.

The famous hermaphrodite scene in Fellini’s “Satyricon” .

I loved this article. Nevertheless, it was difficult to read it all the way to the end, as is the whole “transgender” propaganda. We are making our human experience so complicated and unbearable that all humans will soon aspire to be monkeys. Oh, wow, have I been prejudiced? Sorry about that. As a “born-woman,” an authentic “her” (BTW, as a writer, I loved the neologism “hirself”), I wished we could focus more on crucial issues, like, I don’t know, art, philosophy, deep thinking, okay, an eroticism that is not turned into a cartoon. I’m sorry. I’m angry. A person, yes, is born with a gender. Few of us used to be called “hermaphrodites” (a kind of biological anomaly and rarity natives would pick to be “shamans,” sacred beings), as recently seen in a sensitive Argentinian movie, “XXY,” and also in the Pasolini classic “Caligula,” sorry? Who is this Pasolini person? A transgender activist? (Letter to the editor of the NY Times about the article “What makes a woman”, published on June 7th, 2015)


Let’s face it. Given all that gay parade taking place in Sao Paulo (something happened out there, I don’t know exactly what) and the whole media “agenda” (at least in the NY Times, I’m not sure why they are giving so much attention to this “Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation” issue), the subject would have passed unattended by this chronicler… That is, if my comment in the same NY Times hasn’t been rejected, a rejection more technological than personal, because when I finally managed to write the brief message in English the comments were already closed, and, well, despite all the 789 online comments, apparently the subject did not reach the “Letters to the Editor” section. Not to mention the apparent decline of the American Empire currently in progress, according to Alan just a strategy to distract our minds from the real problems.

Ouch. Maybe I aimed at a target and accidentally hit another? Is all this movement designed to prove to these activists that they are being fully supported, I mean, not suffering any kind of public rejection, whatsoever, in a way that they can now retire quietly, back to their homes and their peers?

It did not work out that way. I read all the comments, and the vast majority were against this state of affairs in which we are all supposed to applaud the rarity seeking to reach the status of “normalcy”.

And since I’ve got involved all the way down into this controversial subject, I’m now obliged to express my opinion. This whole question of “transition”, in fact, does not apply to people with real gender issues, like, to be honest, the kind who have a penis and a vagina in the same body, having to opt (or not) for one or the other — as the character of that Argentinian film. On the contrary, all this fuss is about men who like to paint their nails red, and dress — better, “cross-dress” — in women’s clothing; or the other way around, not to be accused of being “sexist”: women who enjoy squeezing their breasts and dressing like a man.

It’s not the worst case scenario, or it would only be a matter of behavior, and, frankly, everyone should be entitled to behave the way they want. The case becomes more serious when, even if it does not reach the point of castrating surgery, it encourages people to systematically poison themselves with high doses of hormone injections, just in order to satisfy a troubled psyche, because, not beating around the bush, how many of these subjects are nothing more than normal homosexuals, with an extra “wish”?

It gets even more intriguing when the man who became a woman falls in love with a woman who became a man; in this case, would you describe it?

The point is, when a given situation reaches the big media, we tend to accept that “up close no one is normal”, or, on the contrary, everyone is normal. Even if it ends up in self-harming or administering inadequate drugs for the wrong ailment, oh, pardon my lack of tact.

Although it does not seem to be the case, I’ll take the fact that today in Brazil (yes, I write on Fridays) it’s Valentine’s day — which should be explained as the “official celebration of love”, or at least of the ones in love — what I want to discuss is the lack of love. Or, on the other hand, the problem of how these poor bastards deal with the love issue after their transition, since true love, as everyone knows, is the only thing that ultimately matters. To love. To be loved. Et voilà, we’re in love.

What I really wanted to point out is that, just this week (please understand I’m still not used to Valentine’s day around carnival time, same way Alan never adapted to the romantic holiday around Father’s Day), by coincidence or not, I was working on a book about one of the most important novels in Brazilian literature, which, I confess, I never dared to read. A stain in my intellect? (Guimarães Rosa wrote like this, he liked to assert an accomplished fact asking a question instead). The book included one of the most romantic declarations of love I’ve ever read… that, although it did not finish that way, through almost all the text ran the risk of being one of those love options that were once massacred, but are today glorified. 


I allowed my body to desire Diadorim; my soul? I well remembered his smell. Even in the dark, just like that, I had his thin features that I could not reveal, but I remembered, referred to, in the fantasy of the mind. Diadorim — even this brave warrior — he was prone to so much caressing: my sudden urge was to kiss that perfumed nape: there, where the hardness of the chin and face ended, and softened… Beauty — what is it? (…) Were he a woman, and from that high and dismissing posture, I would be encouraged: to say and express my passion — I would get her, diminish her; she in the midst of my arms! (Grande sertão: veredas, 1937)


All the irony of the situation (no spoiler included, since it’s about the most publicized secret in Brazilian literature) is that the roughneck macho found himself hopelessly in love with the other roughneck at his side (and couldn’t accept it, due to “prejudice,” education, “social manipulation”), which, in fact, was a woman dressed as a man because she liked to fight, or any other reason that might be explored further in the book. And only in death that secret (which, let’s face it, was overflowing by all means possible) is finally revealed. Too late.

Perhaps, and I don’t think Rosa would have risked it, Diadorim plainly preferred to love another woman, or was afraid of the hard cock, I don’t know, not wanting to have sex with her companion in love even if he was covered in gold, I understand very well poor Riobaldo’s pain. He suffered without even knowing why, something that none of those articles and bombastic messages would address at any given time: the usual attraction that takes place between a man and a woman in some subtle layer of consciousness, a kind of aura, scent, pheromone, an animal thing.

Everything that I write (and feel), of course, it’s because I’m a mere hetero, what can I do. And because I believed that Rosa’s novel addresses the issue in a much more sophisticated, deep, sensitive, erotic way; I wanted to write “humanized,” but I chickened out, because the screaming would be great, and another term so keen as that I could not find, a common problem in magazine covers.

To complete the story, I will simplify. These people out there, wanting to pay whatever it costs to have their issues acknowledged, present their problem in a too shallow way, nail polish, girdle, brocades, and because of this, I don’t spare them a dime. I just wish them to go away.

I still owe you a confessional note, another shaming stain on my education: I doubted if the movie I mentioned in the letter to the New York Times was really Pasolini’s “Caligula” (1979) or, actually, Fellini’s “Satyricon” (1969). Oh, how I miss those exciting times where cinema was in fact the seventh art, speaking of which, what are the other six?

Have a nice Sunday!  


Notes on the translation: some things are culturally untranslatable, indeed. The title of this chronicle makes a pun with a Brazilian song that says: “Every form of love is worthwhile”; and the paragraph that describes a man who is now a woman and falls in love with his vice-versa ended in the original with a remark: “Not even Tim Maia can explain,” a joke with Freud. Tim Maia was a famous Brazilian singer and songwriter in the 1980s, and one of his best known songs said: “Everything is allowed, except a man dancing with a man and a woman dancing with a woman”. Who said “music does not need translation?”


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