By Tina S.
Perhaps you can “draw a neat line” between the experience of pre and post-op women. My experience tells me you can. It is, in part, because PERCEPTIONS change when our reality changes.
I know every post-op was once a pre-op.
I know most pre-ops are (at least initially) known to those around them as such. I know most pre-ops are (at least initially) concerned somewhat about “passing” in their everyday life.
Most pre-ops experience transphobia.
It seems that misogyny is recognized after folks make that transition to being seen as women by the “outside world”.
It is then many understand that quite a bit of what they saw as “transphobia” is actually misogyny. You really do not get the full import of misogyny in society until you live as, are seen as, experience every day BEING the woman you have believed yourself to be all, or almost all, your life.
Embrace of a “transgender umbrella” is, I think, a rejection of your reality as “just another woman”. It is a way to remain “outside”, a way to continue being “special”.
If some folks need that, more power to them. That’s just not me, or most (if not all) WBT’s.
The “transgender umbrella” concept also tends to calm some of the more rabid anti-trans lesbian and gay folks. They can look at the concept of “transgender” and say (think?) “Well, those folks are not REALLY women or men — they have their own community. THANK G*D.”
It makes it easier to shunt us aside. It does not require them to be open and accepting. It means they do not have to look at their core beliefs, do not have to THINK.
After all, just look at how much trouble the CONCEPT of bi-sexuality brought to the L&G folks over the years.
O.K., pre-ops are usually known as such.
As I’ve said before, that, in many ways, makes them “special” in their various circles. Quite often pre-ops meet other pre-ops — conversation often revolves around hormones, when, where and how to get SRS, whether or not to have an “orchie”, and when. There are times pre-ops join a T-mailing-list and get upset if post-ops do not have all the answers about hormones, surgeons, clothing, hair, foundation garments, etc., etc., etc.
Most of those “interests” die away after being “just a woman” for a while. Some pre-ops cannot accept that as an answer. Of course, if they go on and have SRS, they find the very same things happening to them. I vividly remember a pre-op on a list who cursed all the post-ops for “abandoning the community” — then she had SRS, kept up a brave “community face” for a while, said her needs and interests had changed and disappeared forever.
After SRS, things change, and you cannot know how much UNTIL you have SRS. It’s more for some than for others — but, stuff changes.
Some pre-ops continue to use their male organs when having sex. Orgasms are still possible.
Some of us avoid all sex during that period.
Others have to constantly “remind” some of the “tranny chasers” we might go out with — “now, remember, I’m the girl”.
It’s amazing how many “tranny chasers” want us to be “tops”. It’s also amazing how many “full out”, totally “done”, except for SRS, “T-girls” ARE “tops”.
In other words, there are so many different WAYS of BEING “pre-op”, or, for that matter, “non-op”. Folks rarely talk about all this “stuff”. Many want us to just be pure, little “whitebread”, girls/pre-ops/transsexuals.
The fact some of this stuff is not within YOUR experience does not mean it does not exist. It does not negate the reality of our varied experience, history. We come from different backgrounds, different classes, have different expectations, different dreams. ALL of that has to be factored in if you want to CLAIM you speak for “the community”. In truth there are many communities.
Post-SRS women, no matter their previous history, are usually interested in getting on with their life. I remember, very distinctly, standing in front of a full length mirror, soon after all the packing, drains, catheter, etc. were removed and saying (to myself) “Finally, all the ‘trans-this’, and ‘trans-that’ is over. It’s done. I’m finally a woman.”. My way of seeing myself changed with SRS.
Later that summer, after I healed (it took me a while), I was playing softball with the dykes at a picnic, and one of the women said, “You are so comfortable with your body – I wish I felt that way.”
That’s one of the rarely realized, ignored, results of SRS — being so comfortable in your own skin. You don’t realize it until after it happens — after all, you can’t miss what you’ve never known.
No pre-op or non-op can experience that feeling. No non-op or pre-op can experience being in a women’s locker room, or some “women’s space” without a measure of fear, no matter how slight, of being “found out”. Physically, there is nothing to “find”after SRS.
I do not speak for non-ops. Nor do I speak for pre-ops. I can speak for myself. I can speak for the portion of WBT’s who agree with me.
I do know that SRS make a huge difference. I know that many who claimed, “It (SRS) makes no difference if you do your transition correctly” (usually as judged by them), will admit, after the passage of time, “Well, it made more of a difference than I thought it would — BUT — what I said before still stands — sort of.”.
Statements like that just make me laugh. Once again, it’s about people making definitive statements about things they know nothing about. It’s also about the inability to say, “I was wrong”.
I cannot abide others who know nothing about me attempting to speak for me. It really does not make sense for those who have not walked my path to speak for me. It makes no sense for those who are not post-op, or those who accept the “transgender umbrella” to speak FOR me, telling the world what I think, how I feel, who I am — without even bothering to ask.
As far as speaking for women who have not had, or cannot have SRS for years. I do not speak for them. I do not tell them what their experience is.
I have found some who claim to speak for me. I have found some who tell me what I’ve experienced. I’ve found some who tell me my experiences are “wrong”, that they are not “respectful” of their lives.
How can MY experience be disrespectful of YOUR life?
Other folks want to negate what they call the “standard transsexual narrative”. They call us “liars”. They say we “copy” other stories. They want to deny our truth. Then they want us to deny our truth. They tell us what to think, what we “really” went through. Some even break us down into totally false, insane, limited, categories — and say we are ALL “just like A or B”. They deny our own narratives, they deny our experience, they call us liars — then they put us into little boxes THEY constructed – with no real input from us. Very strange.
” I tend to think that the constructive conversations around this topic are more about how to make surgery more accessible for everyone who needs it, and not focus on what everyone’s crotch looks like.” — Lisa Harney
O.K. — let us say that would be a very positive conversation. How does that relate to what you said in the prior sentence?
You said: “I also think that referring to trans women (before or after having surgery) as male is reductive and essentialist, and probably doesn’t help make any points to women who can’t access that surgery. That is, I think by using that language you’re actually excluding women who haven’t had surgery from the conversation. Not just that language, but talking about how womanhood is itself inaccessible to those women.”
Given how many of those folks want to subsume us within the “transgender umbrella”. Given how many want to claim “SRS is not necessary” (usually to further their agenda). Given how many want to say our PERSONAL EXPERIENCE is somehow “elitist”, or “racist”, or even “classist” perhaps your prior statement needs some further looking at. TALKING about anything is never excluded. Speaking of your experience is always positive. Attempting to deny MY experience is not positive. Saying it’s “all the same”, when that does not fit what I have experienced is not a positive. Telling me I’m wrong about that is not a positive – especially when you have not yet experienced what I have. Perhaps telling me what you think might just work better.
The folks who are placing us within some “umbrella” or other do not want to go there themselves. Those who still have their “male bits” are attempting to REDEFINE “woman”.
The very folks who INVENTED the current concept of “transgender”, seem to be rejecting it for themselves, and are now attempting to redefine what constitutes a WOMAN.
In doing that, the focus HAS to be on gender, gender roles, being SEEN as woman.
Once again, it’s as if men are telling women who, what, how THEY are — and WHO can be one (a woman).
Please remember, it’s not about “womanhood” — it’s about BEING a woman.
Now, if you wish to turn the conversation to access of surgery. If you want to turn the conversation to human rights, T rights, equal opportunity, etc., etc., etc. — that’s great.
Please do not redefine woman. Please do not redefine female.
Please do not do the old “male woman” thing again.
Y’all are the folks who defined us all as “transgender”. Y’all are the folks who said we (post-ops/WBT’s/etc.) are not revolutionary enough. Y’all told us we are “essentialist”.
Now you want to abandon transgender (at least for yourselves), want to eliminate (or so it sreems) SEX, and join some mythic “female gender”.
Basically, it’s essentialist. You want to join the “club” — but one you have defined, invented, and (it seems) control.
As I was told after SRS — “You’re the same person — it just fits better.”.
The differences, for me, before and after were rather great. I do not think I can say that enough.
People who tell me it’s not so, tend to anger me. Folks who call me “elitist” and other names with their left hand, while demanding I support their right to redefine female and woman with the right, are just being foolish.
I support all human rights. I support the rights of ALL transgendered folks — even the ones many transgendered folks do not want to accept as such.
I FULLY support women’s rights. I support women as equal. I support the rights of women to be treated as equals. Equal pay, equal access to health care, equality before the law, control of their bodies, control of their future. I am “woman identified”.
I oppose patriarchal restrictions, and their remnants.
I understand many non-ops do not accept this. They do not see what they are doing as anti-woman. I suspect it’s all about being conditioned, taught, by the patriarchy.
I also think it’s grounded in the concept of “gender”, and the current desire for sharply delineated “masculine” and “feminine” “genders” that sometimes seems to exist only to sell stuff to insecure people.
This totally ignores the reality of male and female. It refuses to admit we are all a mix of “masculine” and “feminine” genders.
It is the direct opposite of “free to be you and me” — a “dangerous” concept if there ever was one.
Embrace transgender. Accept transgender. Accept pre-op. Let’s talk about access to SRS. Let’s talk about health care. Let’s talk about co-operative communities. Let’s talk about human rights. Let’s support each other. Let’s accept and support our differences.
Please do not attempt to redefine woman. Please do not call this imposition upon women as “revolutionary”. It really seems to be just another act of patriarchal power.