Prince’s Poison Lies #1

It has become one of those ” Common Knowledge” factoids that all T to F people seeking SRS study biographies and create an acceptable narative (a lie) in order to get the psychiatrists to write the letter and the surgeon to do the surgery.

This basically means we are all liars and that transsexuals cannot be trusted to tell the truth.  The response from Bailey and Blanchard when we have said we don’t feel any of the alternatives on their questionnaires describe our feelings and therefore we can’t answer them is that we should pick the alternative that comes closest. If we say none of them are close then they call us liars.

When we said neither AGP nor AP fit us we were called liars.

In fact our honest telling of our stories have been called lies so often one has to wonder why and how this one started.

So come along on the wayback machine to those telling days of yester yore and remember that the quote you are about to read is a published on paper quote taken from an actual book called  Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol. 7, no.4 1978 pp263-272 Reprinted in Ekins/King Virginia Prince: Pioneer of Transgendering pp 34

I am not referring to the verbally expressed motivations such as “I hate my penis”; “I am a woman trapped in a man’s body”; “I think like a woman”; “I have to have hormones and surgery, or I’ll commit suicide.”  We have all heard these statements ad nauseum. They are the chatechism of those seeking surgery andvery identity from patient to patient ought to be a caution light to any professional working in this area. Each person is an individual andwhen a number of people say exactly the same thing for the same purpose, it is a fair assumption that the expressions have been gleaned from something written or said by another who was seeking the same solution to the same problem The statement are made on the theory that if they worked before for someone else they might likely work for the speaker.

This pretty much nullifies the validity of our narratives.

Now I had a lesbian writing teacher at one point who said, “All coming out stories are the same story, only the details are different.  There are common shared elements of our stories.  For that matter I can also see common shared elements with many of the coming out stories of gays and lesbians at least in our infancy to pre-teen years.

The differences are in the details.

Unlike the slam Prince laid on us I learned as a counselor to not trust the stories that missed all or most of those shared elements (the most important being knowing deep down from earliest childhood memories that something was wrong with them expecting you to be a boy, the deep disappointments, etc.

What causes my alarm to go off are those who claim a totally atypical narrative.

Jay Prosser, a brother writes in his book Second Skins about the important role in our narratives being seen as our own and valid.

So the first big lie I am attributing to the late and little missed Prince is the one that “All transsxuals lie to get SRS and become women.”  The subtext of this one being that all WBTs are transgenders who got carried away.

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The Power of Memes and Framing

When my partner and I created WBT as a meme in 2001 we discussed how women born women was being used to beat us up on the boards at the Michigan Women’s Music Festival and WBT was a snappy comeback aimed at making people think.

It was also a way of incorporating a phrase going around the Usenet and mailing lists “woman of a transsexual history”.  WBT had the power of being a short acronym that was strictly for post-SRS women and unlike “transwoman” put woman first.

What had caused us to think of this was my hearing a MBT describe himself as T to Male.  Which makes sense if we look at what is coming out about transsexualism being a result of how our bodies process hormones.

The transgenders hated it.  Cursed us out as divisive.  Called us elitists.  They still do.

Our crime was not wanting to continue to let the men in dresses use us to legitimize their claim to being just like us only with penises and in the case of het transvestites straight male privilege.

HBS has stranger route to incorporation into our lexicon of memes.  It was first refered to as ” Benjamin Syndrome” by a transgender “from Spain” who feigned innocence when we pointed out that in English BS had a distinct and universally understood meaning.  “She” clained innocence and that in “her” language it was “Sindrome Benjamin”.

Anyhow others changed it to HBS and ran with it.

I am apathetic regarding its usage, although I will grant that Dr. Benjamin was pretty much on a gut level convinced it was something we were born with and if you were naturely physically very feminine even before hormones he saw that as evidence of an intersex condition.  That turned out in some ways a more accurate determinant than the crude XY bucal smear as diagnosis for ny intersex condition.

Someone recently said it seemed almost as though all the most active of the transgender spokespeople were disabled.  Disability, especially with a history of having served in the military is one of the last sources of “free money” that permits one to be a full time activist.

The others being paid spokespeople etc.

I do this on my days off and before or after work and am therefore limited in the scope of what I can do by myself.

I have only this to say about the bannings from various forums for dissenting from the transgender party line.  Sock puppets and WiFi posting sites.  They do it to us so let’s  get subversive on them in return.

Silence = Erasure

Evangelina Says:

The thing that has struck me over the years as a transsexual involved with transgender and transvestite men is that there are so very few of us and so many of “them” claiming to be like us that from the viewpoint of the uninformed the weight of credibility lies with the transgenderist. All the effort we exert in opposition becomes fragmented and treated as lies or at least lacking credibility through the sheer weight of numbers against us.

It’s small wonder that the vast majority move on keep their mouths shut and get on with lives in mainstream society keeping narratives firmly closed.

We have numerous credible voices out there, we always have.  I look to Lynn Conway’s Site and Andrea James’ Site regularly for fact checking and general information.

I’m on several mailing lists.  I run this Blog.  My life partner and I coined WBT over 8 years ago and as soon as I started talking about WBT and the importance of those of us who actually get SRS having our own identity separate from Transgender I found myself being trashed. I had been invited to show  the same retrospective of my photographic work Transsexual News Telegraph had recently published at a Trans Pride Event.  I was disinvited.

I’ve been a radical for some 45 years and I’ve developed a pretty thick skin.  Harsh words do not dissuade me from my opinions.  But a lot of folks aren’t into having a folder marked “Hate Mail”

Seriously reading other sisters biographies is a real start.  Seeing the commonness of our life experience.  We stopped being the “only one” the first time we read an article or book by or about another person like us.

Being friends with even a few other sisters ends that feeling of isolation.  And what does it really say about us if we look at friendships with others who have shared this common life experience as some how living in the ghetto?

I’m good at compartmentialization as are most people.  I don’t need to know my co-worker handles snakes and speaks in tongues as part of their religious practice and they don’t need to know everything about me.

I don’t let people who came out last month tell me experience doesn’t count when it really does.

While I have to work unlike others like Autumn Sandeen I can still post comments to the blogs of others, I can blog and I’m working on a book.

I’m an old left wing radical woman and You just gotta know that being a professional transsexual peddling books and speaking engagements looks better than spending the rest of my life working retail.

Mostly though why should I STFU.  I do that and my thinking and opinion get erased.

I was SDS and Weather..  Not exactly one to run from a fight.  My heroes were Emma Goldman, Mother Jones and Lucy Parson.  I want to go to my grave protesting.

No one can erase you or silence you unless you let them.  Some things are worth fighting for .