Category Archives: Random Trans-Rant
Alright. First off, I hate judging ANYONE, really I do. But I’m a human being, so I do it anyway. That being said, I’m really irritated about certain high-profile people in the TG community who shall remain nameless but who’ve been in the spotlight recently. I don’t want to come across as closed-minded, because I don’t feel that I am…but I am offended. Offended by some girls who think that what they’re doing, either in the adult film industry or as “burlesque” performers (i.e., strippers), is helping the community out. Despite your delusions, girls, having men view you as a sex object for your plastic parts is not doing me any favors, I’ll tell you that right now. Some of these girls even go so far as to insinuate that they’re helping to garner respect for all trans people everywhere through these public appearances. May I ask how? How can you garner respect when you’re devoid of respect for yourself…and when this utter lack of respect becomes painfully apparent through the choices you make in your everyday life, from what venues you decide to attend to what clothes you wear? Still, a lot of these girls are too caught up in the whirl of admiration they get for their “work,” that they really do think they’re, dare I say, positive role models. Many of them do have their own positive attributes, beauty or some less savory skill…but a pretty face alone does not a role model make.
A quote from Candy Darling comes to mind, said to a co-star during one of her first Warhol collaborations, “Why don’t you try developing your brain instead of your bust?” Intellect is the sexiest thing around. And intellect dictates, by virtue of common sense, that if you want to be viewed as a role model, you set a good example…primarily through your interactions with whatever target group you’re hoping to influence…not with rooms full of sex-starved fetishists looking for a good time and a glimpse of your under-bits. It’s not only in poor taste, it’s offensive to me. Personally offensive. I try to keep an open mind about certain people’s circumstances, but, I really feel there’s little justification for engaging in such a lifestyle in today’s day and age. My family wasn’t wealthy by any means, and as far as trans-girls go, I’m pretty damned cute…still I was never tempted to make “easy money” by exploiting that and debasing myself. How can you presume to call such money easily gained when it comes at the price of your very dignity?
Dignity. That’s what it SHOULD be about. Our journey to ourselves is a beautiful thing. We follow our paths, compelled by one of the strongest forms of loyalty a human being is capable of possessing…that undying, unflinching pledge to our very own souls that we will be what we were meant to be. Why cheapen such a beautiful experience? To “get there first” by coming up with money for surgeries? That’s all well and good…but then where are you? Where is it that you ‘got to?’ And what did you truly become? It is true that in many cases, desperation drives us, but ignorance should not. We should always be mindful of what we’re willing to sacrifice and what we’re hoping to gain, ensuring ourselves that one does not outweigh the other and that we can live with such choices after the fact.
Part of what I hope to do, both by studying at school and by going to different government agencies to discuss my past, is to put a very real, very human face on what science has labelled an aberration, under the heading of “transgendered.” I’m someone who’s done a lot of growing up, just like you…or you…or you. And it’s been hard, but I struggled through and did it right. Now, I want to give back to the youngsters by helping those who help them understand better what struggles they go through…and who knows, maybe I’ll eventually go back for my MSW and help these kids directly as a social worker. Either way, I help. Even now and as someone who helps, goddammit, I have a right to be upset…our kids deserve better and so do you girls, yourselves! Respect yourselves…it’s daunting to trudge this path with honor and self-respect, but it certainly is not impossible…and don’t let anyone lead you to believe otherwise.
You, yes you…however you got here and whatever your circumstance in life…pay attention. This message of mine may not be worth much to you but I piece it together from pain and triumph and send it forth on the sharp wind of reminiscence.
Life is too short. That is such a cliche, isn’t it? But what is a cliche if not an overused truth? Overused, because within is contained a rather universal sentiment. Length of time can be relative, varying from one person’s perspective to another, but I think we’re all in agreement that however long it seems to us, it is, ultimately, never enough. I’ve been miserable in life, and thought erroneously at times that life was too harrowingly long…too full of suffering. I’ve also been happy in life. And I’d much rather be happy. So the real crux of anything I post or say during my speeches to caseworkers and other interested parties is this: never waste what you’ve been given. If you’re in an unpleasant situation, REMOVE YOURSELF FROM IT. If you’re around people you can’t stand, REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THEM. Don’t make excuses, don’t tell yourself tomorrow will be the day. Wake up and grab every minute by the balls. You may not get another chance. Life is your canvas, paint what you will, but don’t waste your colors. I’m at an age where I’m seeing and hearing of old family friends who were such a fixed part of my childhood just fade away. Slipping under the soil as yellowed pages slip under worn book covers. Even my cats, (for I have always had a surplus of cats due to my mother’s innate compulsion to “rescue”) are here today and gone tomorrow. Lively beings. People that dressed up and made small talk and ate finger foods and cried about their loved ones passing and smiled at familiar films and got stressed about bills. Cats that stalked the shadows and played with their toys and followed laser pointers and made messes. All of those moments that make up an individual person (or cat) just fade away. And we don’t really know where they go or whether there is a second chance, though I choose to believe there is, because the alternative is just too bleak for me to want to grasp. Still…this knowledge lies there, swept up beneath the delirium of daily living. Forgotten, until the day it happens to us and we can no longer ignore it.
We saw an old family friend today to celebrate her birthday and laughed with her and remembered all sorts of things from “back then,” like her penchant for Cheez-Its and the magnificent knickknacks in her home she used to let me play with when I’d visit (my favorites being a collection of miniature houses which she sadly, no longer had). About this friend, she’s an 80-something cat lady and completely marvelous. And the last time she saw me, I was a plump little boy she baby-sat during the summers who played with my action figures as if they were Barbies while watching “The Facts Of Life” re-runs. Within seconds, she “got me.” She “got it.” And she was celebrating my (for her) new-identity with exclamations of, “Oh she’s gorgeous! You’re you finally! You’re not a phony! You’re female goddammit!” Remembering things makes me want to stop time so that I can’t stockpile any more memories. As if that would make it any easier when I can no longer make memories with those who pass on by.
Still, seeing her streaking each day with regret-less life, a woman who’s witnessed a world war, the birth of the internet, and a plump little boy turning into a “lady-in-waiting” it just makes me so adamant about forging ahead and making the most of every second. Never wasting it on anything that isn’t absolutely marvelous. Like my old cat lady friend.
Without a doubt, one of the most frequently-brought up points in regards to the transgendered community and one which I personally wrestled with in my younger years was the blatant lack of trans-role models. I have a few which I’ve listed elsewhere on the blog in earlier entries, but these were observed later in my transition and appreciated mostly for their foreign film work. I didn’t really know anything about how they tackled life on a day to day basis or what their true characters were. Indeed, many of my trans-role models were born in countries where being transgendered isn’t as steeped in stigma as it is here in the United States. That’s wonderful for them, but difficult for American fans who’d like to know more but simply can’t due to language barriers.
When I spoke at the Swish panel, someone brought up this issue and asked me what my thoughts were on the matter…did I feel like there was a decent amount of trans role models out there for the youth? My reply was a firm “no,” to which some random audience member, whom I suspected just loved the sound of her own voice, rose for the third or fourth time and entered into a long-winded monologue about how she disagreed, saying that there were great role models out there and then proceeded to list the typical handful of American tg reality show contestants and actresses. She then implored us to like them on FaceBook and follow them on Twitter, implying that basically it was our fault that they weren’t huge successes and more accessible to the younger generation of impressionable trans-minds. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for trans-solidarity, especially considering how little of it there is…but to mindlessly revere a public figure as a role model merely because they are trans seems to me a very flawed way of thinking. Many of the people she named, I was aware of because of mutual acquaintances, firstly and quite frankly they were not the type of woman I strive to pattern myself after. In many cases, I either found the skill in their craft lacking in some way or considered them to be vulgar, oversexed caricatures of womanhood. Perhaps I am harder on them for being trans, maybe it’s because I’m sick of seeing the same tired people flittering from one cage to another and perpetuating the stereotype that we’re all surgery-obsessed, body-modification freakazoids who are okay with not being taken seriously…with being bypassed. Let me rephrase that…who aren’t okay with it, but are somehow strangely enough, shocked when such things happen. Can you blame society for not taking you seriously when you’re acting like a ten-cent streetwalker and singing songs about blowjobs? Hell, I’d sneer at a cisgendered woman who did that…but for a trans-sister to act like that…is extremely disappointing.
Is this what the kids have to emulate? To look up to? Are these the women who’ll defend their younger sisters and brothers? It’s less of a sore point and more of a deep-rooted ache within me. There was so much solitude for me growing up. My home was not the haven it should have been. My “friends” were always telling me how to be…well, not me. I had no one to steer the way or cut a path. My inspiration was desperation. I don’t want another trans-kid to reach that point, or worse fly from the cage of others’ expectations and demands on what to do to fit in into another cage; relegating their femininity, their very womanhood to the position of freakshow that many in our society expect it to be and in fact demand it to be…because if it ceases to be…for just one moment, then we’d be taken seriously, then things might start to change–I mean, really change. Then we’d have power. We’d be strong.
And it would petrify them.
Until we have trans-folk being presented multi-dimensionally through the media, not as parlor joke or freakshow or hypersexed dumbass…but as captains of industry, celebrated authors, laser gun-toting sci-fi heroines, eccentric millionaires, strident protesters, prize fighters, and every other trope under the sun…I’ll remain my very own role model, thank you. I refuse to settle for what’s out there merely because it is. I deserve more than that, and so do the kids goddammit! I hope one day…posts like this won’t need to be written, but until then please accept my humble rant dear readers, I give it to you whole-heartedly, with every good intention.
Until next time.
So, I know it’s been a long time…been getting ready for school, trying to figure out how to balance my work schedule with my education but it just didn’t work out so I had to quit 😦 Too bad, it was a pretty decent job as far as pay and benefits go, but to be honest…I feel like there was a lot of resentment there, too. From the second I came in, I knew things would be a challenge. My name-tag had been hidden from me and people were starting to say all sorts of things. There was a male colleague who, from what I was told, found me attractive. That’s nothing out of the ordinary as most males do (not trying to sound snobby or pretentious, it just is what it is). He was friends with this older woman who considered herself VERY fashionable and who frequented drag-shows often, so she fancied herself an expert on all things drag (and of course, being the “genius” she was she lumped trans-people in with drag queens). I was never anything more than friendly with this fellow, as I was to everyone at work, because I already have a boyfriend I care about dearly and just never even considered any other possibility, but this cougar felt intimidated. I knew it, my friend at work knew it…and so she used her “insider knowledge” to pull a Nancy Drew and deduce I was trans. A fact she spread around to everyone. To that I have one thing to say. What the f*ck is wrong with you?! Do you really feel so insecure at your advanced age, that you have to try and make an already insecure person (because let’s face it, as transsexuals, we’re all typically very insecure people) feel even worse about herself. After her antics, I felt as though I was being scrutinized by everyone, but especially the males in the workplace. This made me self-conscious and severely depressed. That’s why I’m kinda glad I’m out of there. I never confronted this woman about what I knew she did. But that’s just what she wanted I’m sure…it would prove all her allegations to be true, validating her little rumor and at the same time it would make me lose my composure and appear just as freakish and out-of-control as she would have our co-workers believe I was. So I’m glad I didn’t.
Now that I’m out of that situation, you might think, well it’s sure to get better. To which I say, it surely won’t! Not to be pessimistic, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve grown beyond the blind optimism of my tween years. There are always going to be dipshits out there like this pruny-faced cougar b*tch. Life never gets simpler, you just get tougher. You just have to roll with the punches and, above all, remain COOL and appear confident! I wanted to punch the ugly off her mug so many times you would not believe, but our strength as transsexuals is our ability to endure and persevere. So, my sisters…if you’re being persecuted, or made fun of, or vexed, or tortured, just be calm and carry on, as the British say. I envisioned myself to be a beautiful, ice-cold river…frozen in place, immovable, graceful, majestic. A true lady. I’m so tired of hearing the term “real woman,” and it’s usually something whispered because most of the people who refer to us as “fake women” have neither the guts nor the courtesy to overtly confront us with their stupidity. A real woman is someone who chases their dreams, who sees what’s wrong with a situation and does something to remedy it, a real woman has decency and tact and is so much more than a body part or the ability to shoot out a kid. A real woman doesn’t need to lash out at a perfect stranger because she is intimidated by her. A real woman has class and integrity and in all those respects, I am a real woman and so are many of my trans-contemporaries. I find it comical how these alleged supporters of our community are sometimes the very same people who want to see you as an individual trans-woman fall to the floor so they can raise a leg over you. It’s like, “you can be a woman…so long as you’re not prettier or better-dressed or more desirable than me…you must remain obviously male-looking and freakish so that I know I’m still above you and if you aren’t those things, well rest assured I’ll find something about you that is still male and harp on it so that others know you’re a shim-sham! Wahahaha!” In my case, I look feminine, I tend to dress nicely (sometimes a bit gaudy, but whatever) and many people think I’m an attractive girl. My voice however, is my one weak point. There’s not too much you can do about your voice but exercise it. Singing high notes, visualizing it going above a pencil or some other object you hold horizontally next to your lips. Not smoking. But all those things can’t undo the damage male puberty does to a young transwoman’s vocal chords. It’s just there and you have to deal with it. So, now as I start school again the one thing I fear and dread more than anything is the public speaking, esp. the introductions. I always feel awkward doing that because I feel like everyone can tell, and I’ve realized now that some people will be able to. And that’s alright. Because even though we have deep voices or some other traits that may identify us as transsexuals…we are women, we are ladies, we are REAL. Our struggle is real and so are we and that’s something no amount of slander or hate can take away. Something to leave you all with, until next time (I promise I’ll blog more and now I can since I have no job, ha!) stealth and passing isn’t nearly as important as being comfortable with yourself. At the end of the day, when the clothes and makeup are off…you need to be able to look in that mirror and like what you see. So don’t focus on your short-comings (or what you view as short-comings) view the positive, love yourself, love your struggle, for it made you who you are, and screw the dipshits…they’re not even worth the effort. Pass for yourself, not for others! 🙂
So sorry I haven’t posted in a while, life’s been keeping me busy with so much utter crap it’s unbelievable. Anyway, I wanted to segue for a moment from my typical memoirs to a little matter that makes me extremely pissy. Ignorance, specifically ignorance from people you’d think would know better than to be so ignorant. Now, I’m not like militant when it comes to enforcing proper political correctness at all times regarding all terms and acronyms or anything, but I find it completely rude when people just show utter disregard for the journey we as trans-people go through and refer to us using pronouns of the opposite gender. Being included in the LGBTQ umbrella, you’d think that gay people would be a bit more conscientious, but honestly some of them are just as bad as the most dumbass of straights.
I’ll give you a “for instance.” I was at a club yesterday (which is a rarity) and honestly the whole experience made me realize why I don’t frequent clubs…they’re noisy, crowded, sticky and full of ignorant, drunk assholes. This one female asshole in particular was a lesbian who made a pass at me. She asked me if I was straight and I told her that I was trans. I was under the flawed misconception that, as a lesbian, she’d be at least respectful and semi-knowledgeable about the whole thing. But all night long she kept trying to touch my chest to see if it was real or not, and kept asking me in disbelief if I really was a “guy.” Now, I have met wonderful, knowledgeable, sweet lesbians who are just completely lovely and I’ve met shady lesbians who are crude and nasty like this one. So I know there’s good and bad in everything, the thing that irritates me though is that if we can’t have some semblance of cohesion within our community, how do we ever expect to thrive and change other people’s stance on us? I don’t know, the whole matter made me feel depressed and distanced from the LGBT community. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt that way either…I feel like being the “T” at the tail end of that acronym is more than a coincidence…I feel like we’re the least valued and most overlooked members of that already marginalized group. It just sucks to think that we’re the bottom wrung of mainstream society’s ladder, and (for the most part) we’re not much higher up on our own. Maybe it’s because there *is* a distinct difference between sexual orientation and gender identity and that’s the reason they feel we don’t belong in a group united by the commonality of variant sexual orientation, maybe they’re right. Honestly, the only real kinship I feel with gay people, as a straight transwoman is the benefit of a similarly open mind and accepting nature…but when you don’t even have that to show for yourself, you’re just another jerk.
Meh, next week it’s back to my memoirs! Stay tuned!
And oh there are many! I figured I’d take the time to write a little side-note entry, deviating just a bit from the sequential “story of my life” format I’ve decided to use for this blog. I honestly just started searching for other tg or ts blogs on wordpress and found that many of them, although well-written and informative, sounded either a bit too activist-y or too pedantic. I still think there are great resources out there for activists and people researching trans-issues from a more intellectual point of view, but I want this blog to sound and feel saltier and more approachable…instead of like a prickly activist or an erudite, yet somewhat icy clinician. I think there is an activist within each of us, and I also think there is an educator within each of us…the very act of falling under the transgender umbrella necessitates it at varying times within our lives. When deprived of basic rights, the inner activist comes out…when probed about our journey, the scientist comes out explaining the whole thing in detail with an air of exasperation.
Despite considering how multi-faceted we, as members of this loosely-knit community can be, I can’t help but feel we sometimes try too hard to cling to these archetypes and lose that approachable part of ourselves. Honestly, it pisses me off when someone asks me a question about my genitals because it’s none of their business…I don’t walk up to Sally on the street and say, “Hey Sally…you have a vagina, right? How’s that treating you? Where do you put it?” And yeah I do wish I could calmly and eloquently defeat any argument against trans-issues soundly and fully….but, isn’t it okay to be a little selfish and just enjoy the lives we’ve tried so hard to craft to our own true feelings? Life is a battle…and a lesson, but it’s also an experience. One of the biggest gripes I have is the inaccessibility of most other trans-people because they fall into one of those two modes full-time. Many others are fearful of being exposed or targetted, which is understandable, but the veil of anonymity that the internet provides can be a great comfort and its open forums can be a wonderful coping/venting tool. So if you’re trans and feeling frustrated because you feel like you’re the only transsexual in the greater northeast who isn’t picketing or debating, I encourage you to use the internet to vent and connect with others about whatever. It certainly makes me feel better 🙂
Oh, and one last thing that just popped into my head…is anyone else bothered about how overtly-kinky a lot of trans people tend to be? I mean, sex is great and everything…but I’ve found that many of the other transwomen I’ve encountered in my journey have either not been authentically transsexual and have been transvestites who enjoy dressing up because that’s how they get their kicks or whatever or have been COMPLETELY sex-obsessed…like it’s all they talk about. Sorry, but that’s gross no matter who you identify as. I think a lot of our community members and those who mistakenly believe they are part of the community try to create this highly sexually charged aura which I find completely repelling because they think it makes them more approachable when really it just makes you look skanky. That, along with the aforementioned reasons are why I think it’s so difficult to establish any rapport with many of the other members of our community, and I really wish that weren’t the case This is all just my opinion, of course, but how do we expect to be treated with any class if we don’t display any? Think about it! And that’s a lesson for all you cisgendered hoochies too…you’re just embarassing yourself…so quit it!