Assembled From Twigs And Vines

A collection of essays on personal subjects.

Written by Danielle Navarro

Five years, one month, and six days

August 10th 2021 marked five years in transition, and I didn’t realised I’d crossed that point until it occurred to me this morning. Using the best measure I have, today marks five years, one month, and six days in transition. It doesn’t feel like anything at all.

By Danielle Navarro

September 16, 2021

On the intimacy of generative art

Symbolic relationships matter. If a token is valuable by virtue of its symbolic connection to my art, then my art is valuable to me by virtue of its symbolic connection to my life. My art is always emotional. It is always intimate. In each piece there is a part of my life, a snippet of my life experience. Do I want to sell those intimate moments to strangers? I’m not sure that I do.

By Danielle Navarro

September 11, 2021

Know who you are

I know perfectly well what I am. I know who I am. I fought tooth and nail to be here, to be her. In order to become this person I have survived rape, violence both literal and figurative, and humiliations of countless variety. Women treat me as mere copy or caricature, men treat me as fuck toy or freak show. As I come to accept myself more completely, though, I find that I am becoming indifferent to both. Think what you want of me. Your opinions do not change who or what I am.

By Danielle Navarro

August 25, 2021

Impostor

Don’t think it. Don’t think it. Don’t think it. Too late. Impostor. Panic. Accept. Move on. Conference. Women’s conference. Not for you. For women. Impostor. Transsexual. Liar. Simulacrum. Fake. Stop it. Stop. Just stop. Conference starting. No time. Dry hair. Curl hair. Pluck brows. Apply make-up. Choose clothes. Accessorise. Ugh.

By Danielle Navarro

August 23, 2021

Census day

In which a transgender statistician tries to explain the 2021 Australian census to her children and tries her best not to cry

By Danielle Navarro

August 10, 2021

Impatience and disrespect

I don’t want to be the subject of your fucking dissertation. I don’t care about your hypotheticals. I hate that you do this, that you take something that is central to my life, and you make a cute little word game from it. In this situation I am not the person holding power, and I am angry at you. I am furious. I feel rage in a way I never felt before

By Danielle Navarro

May 21, 2021

Here we go again

By virtue of our femininity, trans girls and feminine boys often grow up in a world of constant terror and violence. When you live in a world like this, the privileges that you might otherwise have been accorded by virtue of being male-assigned quickly become inaccessible to you. Privileges can be made revocable, and for a great many trans women, those privileges are revoked from the very beginning of our lives.

By Danielle Navarro

April 30, 2021

In between

Do I belong? Should I be here? How many people in the room secretly think I do not deserve to be here, or would do if they knew what I am? When I read books on professional development that tell me that I cannot realise my potential if I don’t bring my full self into the room, I wonder how I am supposed to do that? Maybe I should jump ship before I sink.

By Danielle Navarro

April 29, 2021

Nevertheless, she desisted

If you find it difficult to understand a straightforward paper it might be appropriate for you to take a step back, acknowledge that you aren’t competent to hold opinions, and refrain from commenting on a literature that is beyond your expertise.

By Danielle Navarro

April 8, 2021

Hidden loss

Her partner was slowly disappearing, right in front of her eyes. The man she had loved was turning into a stranger, a woman she didn’t know at all. She knew it and I knew it. In a very real sense her partner died a long drawn-out death, but because everyone else was so focused on supporting my transition, her pain and her grief were completely invisible.

By Danielle Navarro

April 1, 2021

Something improbable happened

Something improbable happened. Accepting this is not easy. It’s unsatisfying. I want a reason. An explanation. Why did this happen to me? What made me the target? Was it something I wore? Was it my demeanor? Did I lead her on? Did I drink too much that first night? Am I remembering it wrong all these years later? Why did this woman I hardly knew abuse me like that? I am desperate to know the answer, and at the same time resigned to the fact that I never will.

By Danielle Navarro

March 12, 2021

Daniel

Body horror dreams in which his face returns, my body transformed back into his. My breasts dissolving, hair regrowing from my arms, my back, my chest, the dark shadow returning to my face. His musculature twisting my birdlike arms into grotesque knots, his testosterone set loose inside me, like poison.

By Danielle Navarro

December 26, 2020

Meaningless questions do not have meaningful answers

I don’t have an opinion about whether trans women are real women, any more than I have an estimate of the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin or a belief about the mood of Thursday.

By Danielle Navarro

August 21, 2020

A lexical decision

Here are my reasons. Why do I linguistically identify myself as a woman, and what does that statement mean when I say it? I leave it to the reader to decide for themselves whether these justifications constitute a delusion.

By Danielle Navarro

August 13, 2020

On small differences, academics, and biological sex

There is a strange kind of intellectual myopia that academics are vulnerable to whenever the subject of transgender rights comes up. People who might under normal circumstances speak in a careful and measured fashion suddenly become prone to wild exaggeration and reckless generalisations. I am genuinely baffled as to why this happens, but I have some hypotheses.

By Danielle Navarro

July 12, 2020

Never the same girl twice

Danielle, it turns out, has her own ideas about what matters in life, and first passage time density computations for Weiner diffusion processes are not numbered among them. And so eventually the time comes when I can’t be that other person, the person others want me to be. I can’t: Daniel was not a lazy man, and as competent as Danielle is, there are limits. I can’t do his job as well as my own, and my boundaries are different to his. When I start to assert them it comes as a shock, and people I care about get incredibly angry at me.

By Danielle Navarro

May 31, 2020

An ordinary account

A long piece on transgender rights, in which I admit that I do have opinions on what social and political considerations a person such as myself deserves. The central claim is that transgender rights can be justified on their own terms, pragmatically, without requiring any recourse to strong metaphysical claims about the nature of gender identity.

By Danielle Navarro

October 24, 2019

52 pickup

I have to worry about my right to use public toilets, whether I’ll have my genitals groped at airports, whether my identity documents will be believed, whether I have access to medical care, whether my rape ‘really’ counts, whether I’m allowed to participate in society as a normal person, and what do they want to talk about… are trans people being too mean to this poor journalist?

By Danielle Navarro

January 24, 2019