To Be or Not to Be

Recently here in Cyrsti's Condo, we featured two young transgender women who decided to come out and be LGBTQ activists...if even it's because they came out at all.  One was Teddy Quinlivan. Along the way, Connie wanted to clarify a comment she made:

"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)?"


I agree. Unless you happen to be totally passable, you definitely are on the front lines of transgender acceptance/education. If you like it or not.  It's one of the reasons I respect those who come out despite having a ton of passing privilege .

Comments

  1. I feel like I have at least a half-ton of passing privilege, anyway. :-)

    This is kind of on the subject; at least an outcome of privilege and acceptance:

    The other day, while I was sitting on a bench and taking a little break from my job watering flower baskets, a guy stopped to say good morning. Then he exclaimed, "You're the Flower Lady!" Almost as soon as he walked away, he stopped, turned around, and said, "It's OK to say that, isn't it?" "Yes, of course," I replied. Then he went on a bit about how he wanted to be sure it was alright, to the point where we were both a little embarrassed.

    I do consider myself to be a lady. I think it shows for the most part, but it's really pretty obvious to me. The incident made me think, though. Was this man so concerned about political correctness that he thought it necessary to back up from calling me a lady - which was his original assessment, whether I passed or not? So, is this yet another kind of passing that I must face now? I am a proud binary trans woman, and although I accept all non-binary people, I want to be seen only as a woman, myself. Must I now express my gender identity in a way that is not only non-male, but also not somewhere else on the gender spectrum? Just when I thought I had reached a point in my transition where I felt accepted for my gender identity and the expression thereof, I find that I need to also find a way to make it clear to others that I am not somewhere more toward the middle of the gender spectrum.

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