Transgender Privilege

The Cyrsti's Condo post on the new Chanel transgender model Teddy Quinilivan brought on two great responses:

  1. "What an excellent advocate, of course we can't all look that good, but this is about so much more than clothes and looks. I am pleased and proud that so many trans women who have "passing privilege" are proudly coming out as being trans. I am sure that this helps normalise our existence."

  2. "Wow! I can understand her feelings, because being trans will probably always emote them. At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, though, she has no idea how much privilege she has in comparison to those of us who were struggling with our gender identity at her age - forty-some years ago. It's not that I consider myself a hero, but those of us in our sixties and beyond, and who have taken the steps necessary to be living authentically, have paved the way somewhat, at least.

    In just two generations, then, "coming out" is taking on a new meaning. Instead of it being a declaration of identifying as a trans woman - after establishing oneself as a man, it is now possible to be a trans woman who would have to declare herself as such - because most everyone thought her to be a woman all along. If I were her, I might think twice about making such a move, but then, I'm thinking from an old (trans) lady's perspective."
  3. From another "old" transgender lady, I think it is great (as Paula does) that she (Teddy) had the courage to come out and be an advocate. Something which was so so missing in my generation.  Just looking at her and others of her generation who have come out, it's hard to realize  the  distance we have come.  Just think of the availability now of hormone replacement therapy and even puberty hormone blockers.  A great example is Cincinnati Children Hospital which has a transgender program for anyone up till the age of 24.  I often wonder how it would have been not to have worked so hard (as Connie said) to establish myself as a man.
  4. I guess maybe I have come out of this with a better, more complete knowledge of what gender is. It alone could be considered privilege.  

Comments

  1. I didn't write what I did because I disagreed with Ms. Quinilivan's decision to come out as she did. In this age of cyber-information, though, it's likely that someone else would have exposed her gender status eventually. My point was that much of what made it possible for her to even have that option was by those of us who had gone before her. Whether it was more difficult for us (baby boomers) than it was for her could be debated, but I was more interested in the evolution and history of it all. We, who are the old-timers now, also owe much to those who had gone before us.

    For many women, cis or trans, fashion models represent the unrealistic, if not impossible. I agree with Paula that it is about so much more than clothes and looks, but, unfortunately, there are so many who develop feelings of inferiority - and even hopelessness - when they compare themselves to these models. We trans women often talk about how passing is not really important, but I think most of us would like to be able to do so. If I could, I believe I would do everything I could to keep my trans status a secret. As a child, I fantasized about moving away to a place where nobody knew me and live as a woman. By the time I got close enough to my eighteenth birthday, though, testosterone had done so much damage to my body that my dream seemed to be forever quashed. Had I thought that I needed to look as good as a model, however, I never would have considered it in the first place.

    Anyway, those of us who are trans and not models (although I want to be a contestant on a new show, "America's Next (Muffin) Top Model," can still have an impact. Just being out in the world and living regular lives can make a big difference. I think it's pretty obvious to most everybody I meet that I'm a trans woman, so I never bring up the subject. If someone else does, I do my best to educate them, but I always make it clear that I consider myself to be a woman, and trans is but one adjective of many others I wish to be used in reference to me. How about: loving, caring, friendly, good, or even bitchy (sometimes)?

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