Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beyond the binary

An incident occurred while I was at the Trans conference that I've never written about.  Why?  Well, I was totally overwhelmed at the conference, without a doubt it was an entire weekend of overloaded circuits, and I wanted to make sure that there was process time between the occurrence and the writing about.  While I finally had it all worked out in my mind ages ago, I didn't feel the need to write about until now, but something R.J. said in her comment to my last post, sparked the need to talk about it.

I have been discriminated against by a couple of T girls for not having transitioned and I never understood it. by R.J.

Fledging me was sitting at one of the dinners at the conference, chatting happily with the people sitting at my table.  Dinner was over and there was a great deal of table hopping going on.  The two ladies next to me, took their purses and disappeared into the mix.  The lady on the other side asked me to save her seat, as she need to use the restroom.   I'm sitting all happy as a puppy, sipping the last of my beer, when this lady I didn't know, but had seen here and there around plopped down next to me. 

Working on the confidence I'd gained over the past couple of days, I greeted her first, with a happy welcoming smile on my face.  Not the reserved one that I usually wear.  And then, the other shoe fell hard on my neck.  This is the gist of our "conversation".  Conversation is in quotes, because really it was an interrogation. 

Her:  So, we have all been wondering about you.  Just what do you think you are?

Me:  Umm, what do you mean?

Her:  WHAT do you THINK you are? 

Me: ……………..

Her: (very condescendingly) Are you a guy or a girl?

Me:  Oh!  I'm a guy. Why?

Her:  Well, you have earrings on, nail polish and boobs.  You were confusing us.

Me:  My earrings are guys, and if you'd look around, you'd see most of the transmen wearing earrings.  I have on polish sure, but its black and left over from the decades dance.  I was a rocker and forgot to purchase the special remover this polish requires, So I left it.  And yeah I have boobs, my body is female.

Her:  You should bind and not wear earrings and polish so not to confuse us.

At this point I was beyond speechless.  Heretofore I didn't realize this event was policed by the styling mafia.  Did I mention her ill fitting wig?  Or the poorly applied makeup?  I did not.  Why?  It wasn't any of my damned business.

One sweet transguy asked to sit with me, said he wanted to talk to me.  This was after the interrogation, and I was leery to say the least.  But he was sweet, and kind and we really hit it off.  At the end he asked me if he could use me as an example to his therapist.  It seems the therapist has a very narrow view of what it means to be male, and an even narrower world view of what being a trans person should be.  He actually said, "You've given me hope that I don't have to cookie cutter myself to be trans.  I want to model myself on you."

Well, knock me over with a feather!  I was surprised to say the least.  At this time I still hadn't dove deep into the trans pool and both of those responses took me by surprise.

And this is what I was talking about in the last post, of trans people policing their fellow trans so very closely.  What do the transmen think?  I'm not really sure actually, as a whole they are very quiet.  This is a really representative view of what a great deal of transsexual women feel. 

Transgender is a term created by a transvestite to rename her kind to a more acceptable sounding word. Virginia Prince so named herself and others of her kind such in the late 1970s. Since that time the LGBT political mongers have included everyone who is gender variant under that term. It is predominantly Gay Males who want us included in their psycho-sexual world. This gives them some sort of vindication that they are the same as us. Not even close.
A transsexual person is dealing with a congenital birth defect. This is a medical fact. Therefore there is no possible way we are the same thing. Ours is medical theirs is sexual and political.
What occurred with the ENDA mess has verified just how bad this word is to us. We are grouped with the TGs and that is part of the problem. This effects us in work, housing, and every other part of our lives and being associated with them is damaging us politically. While we may all have differences within ourselves in so far as our sexual orientation we who are transsexuals all have the common bond of the medical issue. Ours is gender identity and not sexual orientation.


But really, this is what a great deal of the rhetoric I hear around the blogworld when I hang out in the transsexual spaces.  I heard much much hate towards the cross dressers.  And how they screw up their ability to gain civil rights due to their outrages actions, and the fact they only dress as women now and then, so no one will believe them.  Sound familiar?  How many times have I heard guys complain about the flamers in their wee spangled thongs at pride fest, and how it makes the rest of the "normal" gay world look bad?

I do have to agree that cross dressers do seem to cause a chilling effect on the trans world in winning civil rights.  Makes it seem more of a "game" than a "real" problem.  However, its the "haves" that are causing the ripples in the trans pool, we are just silly enough to allow those ripples to cause class war within the trans ranks.

Most of the transgender people I've been lucky enough to meet, either in the flesh, or in the virtual world all say, they knew they were different from a very early age.  They don't quite fit comfortably within the body they were given.  They don't have the extreme form of needing surgery to feel whole, they are more of a blend than a mono-gendered person.  And after a struggle session, have come to terms with who they are a beautiful blend of male and female, or they realize they have no gender.  I think this song from the Disney movie Mulan is quite apt as to what most of us feel at one time or another.

Truthfully I've more or less decided not to attend the trans conference this winter.  But I will go back, perhaps next year when I have more a concrete platform nailed down.  And when I do come back, it will be to host a program, of which I already have a name for, "There is more than one way to be Trans, and all of them are right."

My response to the militant transsexuals?  Is this quote, The true civilization is where every man gives to every other every right that he claims for himself. --Robert Ingersol


  1. I understand Biki. People like to organize everyone into groups for their ease of mind. Those that don't fit into their order irritate them because then they either have to make new file or intimidate people to fall into line.

    Personally I don't like either mode of thought. People are people. The variations in us all are probably infinite. I think it much wiser to just allow people to develop who they are.

    We really need to abolish this age old definition of what is male and female. There is no true definition beyond a skeleton of anatomy. It only serves to make those who do not fit stand out.

    It is that very reason why I most assuredly believe we have the T in LGBT. Trans people still have to come to terms with sexuality, struggle to gain acceptance, and are greatly hurt at times like any other group under our rainbow.

    Maybe instead of fighting each other to be so distinct and individual we are forgetting the strength we has as one and the lessons we can learn from one another.

    In the end it is unity that will make us. Anything else is a war of attrition and without allies we are hopelessly outnumbered.

    Good piece!

  2. What a thoughtless person.
    I mean, to sit in judgement of a person who is going through, has gone through, or is planning to go through, the same thing as you, and to judge is just sad to me.

    How can anyone expect anyone else to be accepted if we don't accept everyone else.

    Um, I was born male, am male, and will die male, but I used to wear earrings and nail polish, too. It's called a "look".

    It's isn't LGBT, it's people.

  3. That's a great couple of posts, Biki.

    Transpeople who medicalise their position and just look for "the cure", as much as gay people who seek acceptance by blending in and being indistinguishable, both ignore the fact that our very existence is a challenge to the way gender has worked in our traditions for thousands of years. That's what we've all got in common. That's why, from the most outrageous cross dresser to the most conservative transgender person to the gayest of gays, their struggle is my struggle is our struggle. It's the only way we'll win.

  4. Geez! I don't understand some people. I can't relate to what you are going through but for someone to be so small minded at that particular event, I just can't get my head around it.

  5. I have to hope part of the problem is that so many trans folks are internally conflicted, and so deeply involved in their own inner crises that perhaps they forget that there are always more than 2 sides to one coin (to coin a phrase). Look at the varying degrees of gay, lesbian, hetero in so many people - can trans be that much different?

    And of course, who says someone has to fit a particular description to be L or G or B or T? I know some men who are gay who look as butch as any cowboy, and some who are "stereotypically" gay, with feminine mannerisms, etc. that are certainly 100% straight. Who the heck am I to suggest they change the way they look or act to suit ME?!

    Excellent post, Biki! Well done.

    (But you really ought to think about going again - now you know what to expect, and you'll gain knowledge and insight for the presentation YOU want to give!)

    Peace <3

  6. Oh, and PS: You are this week's winner of the coveted ISBL OGCOTW award!


  7. Thanks for writing about this. I still don't get how people who have transitioned all of a sudden think they're better than those who haven't or won't for various reasons.

  8. Another great post with so many ecelnet points. I to think that there is a very nerrow minded need by others to pigen hole every one into title little boxes of Male and Femail, or more persisly of being a Man or a Woman.

    As a gay man I can't even count the number of times I have been asked often by people I don't know if i am "the women or the man" in my relation ships. Personly im male (and I identify as so) but i'm not some gender roll in a relation ship im a partner the other person, nether the man nor the women. I find the personaly I don't pigon hole well into one gender roll or another but instead exist in the middle ground bettwen.

    I think that we in the LGBT community need to take the lead in eliminating the flassness of these two stirct critera and replacing it with person hood where one can identify with (aline them selves with to what ever extent they wish) a gender but not be bound to that genders rolls in order to fit in. Instead the only thing that should count is how they see them selves regardles.

  9. Unfortunately narrow-minded people are to be found in the most unexpected places.