Saturday, January 21, 2012

the trans debate. call me a post-trans woman.

whoa. political hot potato!

i got annihilated for referring to trannys as 'guys in dresses'. my mistake. i was going on the meaning of the word that i grew up with in the UK, namely, transvestite.

i also made the mistake of looking up the meaning of words on google and wikipedia. I think this is where the general public gets their info, after all. that too, was a deadly error. i'm surprised i wasn't summarily executed, for "allow others to define us". jesus wept. i wasn't allowed to ask around for current definitions, as that comes under the 'derailing' category of "asking for a clue".

i got accused of derailing so many times, i wrote the the guy who maintains the "derailing for dummies' website, asking them to include 'accusing people of derailing' as a derailing method in its own right.

so what does tranny mean? apparently it means whatever the fuck you like, and don't argue. its the T world's new N word. we can use it on ourselves, and on each other (but only nicely), although we aren't allowed to dislike the word or deny its applicability to ourselves, because that somehow implies judgement of others. and no one else can call any of us it, even those of us who are.

so, i asked for clarification of 'transvestite'. i was hoping for  a simple answer. well, no. apparently TV now covers everything from the eponymous 'guy in a frock' , through bi-gender curious, genderqueer, gender fuck, drag queens, intersex, dual-spirited, agendered and whatever sexual fetish you fancy through to full time crossdressers (male or female identified) and pre and non-surgical trans women.

the term 'trans' and 'tranny' include all that lot as well as pre and post operative 'true' transsexuals (to use a medical term).


i guess i'm conservative. i recognise the gender binary (intersex issues aside), so i changed sides . the bi-gendered and gender queer crew don't recognise the gender binary, so they are in a whole different world, to me and most of society. i'm not condemning them, that's their right and i hope they have fun.

i spent a long time in that genderqueer space, when i was getting over my self-image issues (which were based around fear of actually being a guy, but in surgical drag). looking at 9 year old photos solved that. my friends and i saw a stunning young woman. "but you're so pretty", said a 12 year old friend. was i? my memories of that time were of paranoia, that i looked like a drag queen. the proof that that self-image was way off the mark made me reconsider a lot of things. So i no longer cling to a 'bit of a guy, bit of a girl' picture i held onto like a shield, so i wouldn't have to fail at being what i am, a woman.

the labelling argument grew heated. for not wanting to be described as a 'tranny', when it meant so many different things, i was called 'transphobic', 'homophobic', 'separatist' etc etc etc. i was shouted down and personally attacked, mainly by those occupying the genderqueer ground.

so i went looking for a new label. here's some quotes, please excuse the typos:

cap'n Flow In
i've been talking to a researcher who is interviewing post operative mtf transsexuals. turns out that all of us, so far, have a problem with the trans term, especially as it now applies to so many who do not recognise the gender binary.
for us, the term 'post operative mtf transsexual' is accurate, but unhandy. we don't want to be called 'trans women' due to the ill defined nature of trans, but are not necessarily happy with 'women' since it does not acknowledge our reality. we are searching for a term.
how does 'non-cis woman' work for others who fit into the medical defenition of pre/post operative mtf transsexual? i'm not very interested in what people who are NOT in the category think, as this is about us.

ANONYMOUS  know I'm not your target market for answering but I feel all these divisive labels just end up dividing the community further. From someone relatively new to the community it seems to often dissolve into fighting, back stabbing and bitching. I see having a whole host of labels as almost a way to define a "class system" withing the community. Surely we can all play nicely together as one? Help each other out? Fight for each other instead of against each other? Is that not the point of being part of these communities?

Flow In you may see a class system, but that means you have a belief that any one state is better than any other, i don't. i believe that labels are quite handy when describing things, especially when the labels currently used are so wide. 'transwoman' can now refer to a gay/striaght guy in a dress. that means it is no longer useful when used in the wider community, or in here. it is quite possible for a group to consist of diverse, distinct, groups, and yet still function nicely. pre/post operative true transsexuals are a real minority group, and suggestions that i meekly submit to a melding my uniquie identity to a larger, amorphous, genderqueer majority simply to avoid being seen as 'elitist' 'separatist' or 'divisive' are not acceptable.
alliances, or 'umbrellas' (and i reject the term 'spectrum', unless if goes from binary cis through genderqueer to true trans) are made up of distinct groups, working and playing together.

this is after days and days of fighting with the umbrella 'borg.
unfortunately, it has led to division within our community. Some of us even debate wether there is a community or not. i kind of like it, since lots of people pass through different stages in their life, and its good to have a group that will support that. the main argument for an 'umbrella' seems to be politically motivated. putting our voices together gives us more clout, more ability to get legislative and medical change.


i'm in a very small minority, and bullies are attempting to silence my voice because it is 'off message'. ie. i do not agree we are all the same. that is no good.

i'm lucky. i'm articulate and reasonably calm. when i get shit thrown at me by my peers i'll stand my ground and keep stating my case, keep trying to understand where they are coming from (although apparently trying to understand someone is 'derailing') so that a stable common ground can be reached.
lots of my post-op peers are not the same:

As a TS seperatist I see very little actual common ground with the TG borg.. about as much as I have with the LGB community actually.. I'm straight female so their issues aren't mine, I'm happy to "conform" in the binary space, but by MY choice. Far happier there than I am being forced under the LGBT "umbrella" by default. I think the "umbrella" is too wide.. RuPaul is a perfect example with people arguing that HE has a right to be under the TG "umbrella" because he pretends to be a woman (and enforces a lot of the bad stereotypes that all TS/TG people are just gay or lesbian crossdressers or drag queens/kings) wehen the reality is he is so far from our groupings that he should be excluded.. He's not TG/TS so doesn't belong.. the same as anybody who just wears opposite gender clothing "because they want to" should be excluded.. cis-males in dresses aren't TG (yuck) they are exploring some sort of fetish. They really don't belong. By allowing these abberations and also allowing ourselves to be forced into the LGB movement has done decades of harm to our very simple human and civil rights and respect campaign. I know I have upset quite a lot of the borg recently wth this line but.. The black civil rights movement wasn't exactly welcoming of white supremacists and didn't exactly allow them to join their core groups. The LGB campaigns aren't exactly welcoming of straight heterosexual people, and even less welcoming of a binary conforming straight heterosexual TS woman. I will work with allies under an "umbrella" but only when those allies don't attach a label which doesn't really apply to them and then force me to conform to it as well. I wrote a paper not long ago which was universally attacked under the title "warning, transsexual woman ahead, cis-gendered crossdressers need not apply" .. The borg don't like TS seperatism to find a voice and lay down some logical boundaries :)

this went down like a lead ballon. it appears the non 'true' trans people want to make us the same as them, by whatever method necessary. they'll quote brain studies, they'll quote difficulties in medical and legal situations, they quote phobias and discrimination. all cart-before-the-horse kind of stuff. for me, and many of my contemporaries, its simple. you get the wrong body, and you do something about it. some of us don't get surgery, but the initial state is still there. why does the 'borg' keep trying to assimilate us? we aren't going to say goodbye, simply because we've been acknowledged....

i have a feeling theres a deep psych thing going on. to get accused of a class system, of elitism etc. repeatedly, to get accused of value judgment, when all i was doing was defining existant labels? 

here's my one of my main antagonists speaking, about derailing:

No, this is what derailing is:

It's fine for people to disagree, engage in healthy and constructive debates, talk about issues whilst maintaining a safe space and not making people in the discussion un-safe/isolated, speak or question respectfully, without getting to the point of "you must educate me on this identity/idea I think is really weird/not legitimate and that I know nothing about, and really have no desire to, and I will only dismiss what you say once you have laboured and but so much thought into your response"... But the sum of what some people have been doing on several topics on this page has been more than this, and has usually made value statements against people and their identities, their lived experiences, putting people down, silencing, policing identity and who belongs and who doesn't belong, and has been exclusionary and quite unsafe in the way people have conducted themselves.

This is because i was trying to defend the minority position that true transsexuals are not the same as crossdressers, and that i don't like to be called 'tranny'. this particular speaker said "you cannot say..." "shut up.." "go away..." etc. accusing me of value judgements in every statement. i'm fairly conscious of my intentions, and i did not deliberately do ANY derailing, judging, or excluding. in fact, i would repeatedly state that defining of difference explicitly did not intend judgement.

ah well, the debate has died down for now.

and i've an idea:

'post-trans', i was pre-trans when i was trying to be a boy, then i started to transition, so i was trans, and now, about 11 years later (9 years after surgery), i've moved through that. am i now post-trans. ?

so, i shall no longer say i am a 'transwoman' (since that now includes gay men in dresses). i am a 'post-trans woman'.

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