Not all transsexual/transgender women are ultra feminine.
Indeed, in what is almost a mirror of cradle women’s patterns, only a minority of women born trans fall into that category.
Often they are the models, the pageant contestants and women who gain notoriety.
While attacking cradle women for being “too feminine” is considered to be taboo according to feminist principles, that taboo does not protect women born trans who are deemed too feminine.
It isn’t the gate keepers who demand this.
One of my late friends was an ultra femme sister from the American South, exaggeratedly feminine in every way imaginable and then some. She floated down the street like a cloud of lavender perfume, she was an other worldly sort of feminine.
Yet she was genuine in that femininity even in a world where that doesn’t get you very far and where it brings constant disappointment.
She was a character out of a Tennessee William’s play or a Truman Capote novella.
Dr. Laub asked me for my evaluation of her when Stanford was deciding whether or not to do her SRS. She was one of two sisters, both of whom were very dear friends of mine he asked me about.
He was used to the sexualized manipulative femininity many transsexuals, myself included, used as part of our collection of survival tools.
But her ethereal femininity was novel.
I explained that part of it was cultural, the southern belle aspect,which would lead to my describing my friend in later years as the faded flower of the Confederacy. But that she was also a genuine hopeless romantic.
She wasn’t putting anyone on. Her behavior could just as easily be annoying as charming. It was just who she was and to deny her surgery because her femininity didn’t match up with the more worldly sexy femininity of some of us who came off as “California Girls” (even though I was from up state New York) would be wrong.
She got her surgery and lived much of her life in melancholia, as the real world could never match her romantic fantasies.
I was the cute casual sort of femme. Even in a black leather jacket.
I was described by my sisters as a natural beauty wonder, curvy naturally feminine body and cute without a whole lot of make-up. I aroused jealousy among my sisters.
In lesbian bars and at events I was femme without trying.
I also came off as ‘real’, something that is called into question these days in TS/TG circles as being a disreputable social construct.
I honestly don’t give a shit about what Germaine Greer, Sheila Jefferys or any other self appointed radical feminist says about transsexual and transgender people. Thinking they have something valid to say is like thinking the Christo-Nazis are right about LGBT/T people.
I’ll go one step further. Nothing they have to say is relevant.
Denigrating Sexy Feminine transsexual/transgender women is just another form of slut bashing that denies women the right to be feminine or for that matter trashy and slutty.
I won’t go into how TS/TG sisters who looked just like all the other Birkenstock, jeans and t-shirts dykes were trashed for deceiving real lesbians into going to bed with them.
Never mind TS/TG women can’t please certain factions of radical feminists with anything we do, short of suicide.
As another late friend of my who was an example of the surgically enhanced form of sexually manipulative femininity put it, “Every procedure except my sex change operation was developed for and is used on women from breast implants to facial sculpting.”
She was right. Transsexual and transgender women didn’t develop the form of femininity they are being chided for following. Why are they criticized for it when cradle women are not?
Unless we are seen as fake women and by extension fake humans we are entitled to the same presumption of naturalness as normborns.
We are after all your sisters and brothers. John Rechy said something to the effect that queers are the only minority that is born into the families of the oppressors. Well, TS/TG people were born into the same sets of gender indoctrination that non-trans folks were. We are just as much family as you are.
Are we supposed to be immune to the corporate brain washing/indoctrination of gender?
What it it isn’t about is pleasing gate keepers? (See Natalie Reed’s “Mandated Femininity”)
What if our femininity, including those who seem to buy into every Vogue advertiser’s version, of it is driven by the exact same insecurities. It might not be the world’s greatest thing for women, be they trans or non-trans to be so insecure that they would have hot wax poured on their pubes and then have them ripped out but there are people with advanced degrees in the art of psychologically manipulating people into buying that service.
It is bullshit to condemn the TS/TG woman for succumbing to that manipulation when you give non-trans women a pass.
There is a presumption regarding TS/TG women that since we had boy parts at birth we were socialized the same way men were. This is a variation on the exoticizing that attributes special insight into what really sexually pleases men because after all “you were a man.” Or the even more bizarre version “you were born a man.”
Well no… I was born transsexual, I grew up transsexual and when I finally came out it was a matter of just admitting something I had been abused my entire life for being.
When all that “socialization” stuff was going on I was wondering why they were trying to force the male version onto me. It felt like abuse.
I had to hide and be ashamed of and learn the socialization that felt right for me in secret.
When I was caught learning femininity I was verbally punished, threatened with commitment to a mental institution or being thrown out. Stuff that actually happened to friends of mine.
When I came out, a transsexual sister and a transgender sister were the people who gave me permission to be as girly girl as I wanted to be. To cut myself free from the shame. I was 22 at the time and that wasn’t too old to enjoy being like a teenage girl.
I went through my hot sexy babe phase, my groupie phase.
I don’t like puritans. Mostly they tend to be Stalinistic assholes, always ready to judge others as not meeting some sort of imaginary standard.
Emma Goldman supposedly never said the “If I can’t dance at the revolution, then it is not my revolution.” But among other things she was an advocate of free love.
What good is freedom, if it is only freedom to obey some form of puritanical standards laid down by the new dictator.
The who sang, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”
A lot of the extra feminine phase that many TS/TG women go through is due to their having the same insecurities as women raised from the cradle to have those insecurities. Some of it is probably hormonal. Both male to female and female to male transsexuals and transgender people get smacked into a second puberty when they go on hormones.
Cut them a little slack. Try to remember how you acted during your puberty.
Give them the benefit of the doubt they’ve lived their lives in shame and doubt prior to coming out. If they aren’t sure what is right it is because they are learning. They don’t need people emotionally beating up on them.
Before you judge some one look at their culture. Not just their ethnic or racial culture but the subcultures they are a part of. If they look like a hiphop artist and they are part of that culture then they shouldn’t be measured by upper class white suburban standards when it comes to deciding what is over the top. The same goes for Goth or Punk cultures. Just as my late friend who grew up in the south was shaped by her culture.
We are all individuals including TS/TG people. Everyone has the right to be their own person, even when being their own person means being ultra feminine.
Or for that matter when creating themselves becomes performance art.
Try to remember there are real people being beaten up emotionally by the attacks on transsexual and transgender femininity.