“Classic Transsexual”

I’ve been seeing this one getting a lot of air play lately and I wondered what it was code for and what particular values it embraced.

See I know what a classic guitar is.  It is one with nylon strings, 12 frets and a slotted machine head whereas my Martin has steel strings, 14 frets and a non-slotted machine head.

I know what classic cars are and if “classic transsexual”  meant someone more than 25 years post-op I wouldn’t find it problematic.

But that would preclude some of the nasty twits using it.  One in particular from San Francisco who likes writing nasty crap about me.

I noticed that some of the people using it had a seriously homophobic element to their writings.

They also displayed a propensity for obfuscation when asked for a definition. Not a good move especially in the invoking of Dr B. to some one who had him write a letter to Dr. Laub as part of her surgery recommendation.

Embracing “Classic Transsexual” is sort like embracing autogynephilia. Indeed Bailey uses it as a synonym for androphilic or homosexual transsexual. I was sort of amused to discover this one because the other couple of people I banned were self identified autogynephilics. Neither set particularly strike me as folks I would want to hang out with.

Language can be a tricky thing and it is all to easy to slip into oppressive modes of usage out of shear laziness.

I used to use primary and secondary a lot. I used them in a non prejudicial way as short hand to describe a couple of different demographic groups and because I thought them less prejudicial than the Bailey/Blanchardisms. Then I reread Stoller’s Sex and Gender and discovered the baggage those terms carried.

So now I use young emerger and middle age emerger.  A few more letters to delineate the same basic demographic sets but with less baggage.

Words have meaning, words have weight and carry concepts some more biased than others.  Anyone of any group that has had their life at one point or other affected by a trans-prefixed word has to dance on the knife edge of words and their meaning for those words can cut both ways.  It is difficult to to embrace one side of the BBZL coin without embracing the entire pile of bigoted BS.

This isn’t the first time I’ve cast a jaundiced eye on horizontal hostility and I doubt it will be the last.

7 Responses to ““Classic Transsexual””

  1. Helen G Says:

    Hmm, interesting – but

    The terms young emerger and middle age emerger seem to me to be very arbitrary – where does ‘young’ become ‘middle age’ – and perhaps their useage in this context could be said to be ageist?

    Maybe I’m a little sensitive to the use of age as a benchmark because I was only medically diagnosed as transsexual at the age of 50. I think that each of us takes our own path and, well, it takes as long as it takes.

    • Suzan Says:

      One reason I stopped with the primary and secondary was I figured every one knew as early as they could remember.

      General rule is that if you come out as a child or young adult as in the “you can’t trust anyone over 30” rule then you are a young emerger.

      If you come out in middle age or later then you are a late emerger.

      You may think that ageist. That is your right. I could use far worse terms and those terms have been discussed by others and found to be generally acceptable.

      Because of the process that brought me to using those those are the terms used.

  2. javier Says:

    hi you seem like a cool person. i am ftm, and have been following the new “trans wars” with some sadness. glad there are women who are so open and tolerant, am hoping the bigotry will end up going the way of the dinosaur, in EVERY camp…
    ps are you scottish?

    • Suzan Says:

      I’m not Scottish.

      I’m American from a small town in up-state New York.

      Prior to a dozen or so years ago I had only knowingly met a couple of T to M folks. Then I facilitated an event at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center where I met Jacob Hale.

      He introduced me to a lot of brothers. I liked their company and they helped me to realize I was a person in history because of my late 1960s and early 70s activism.

      I went to a major F to M Conference and realized that there were numerous communities and not just one trans-community.

      I too joined in the wars but over the last couple of years I’ve come to see them as a waste of time and negative when simply by respecting our differences and not making a contest out of purity we could work together on getting laws passed that would benefit all of us.

      As it stands now too many people have this policy of not working for something that would be good for themselves if it would benefit others they have talked themselves into hating.

      PS I hope you and other brothers will also read my blog and comment in spite of its name.

  3. javier Says:

    i am trying hard to educate people re/ respecting each other’s identities. the FEW really combatitive folk seem to have ahold of this issue from the wrong angle-
    that they HATE the glb and tg people, instead of “you are bi/duel/ androgenous/genderqueer, i am woman or man”

    i have tried to comment on this at a few blogs,
    and i am not cool with people being ANYTHING except a person first, anything else second.labels are bad social politics:
    no one is “a gay”
    “a trans—”
    even maybe only a “woman”(the old ‘what DO women want’
    like they are a hive mind!

    people are human beings.
    identity politics are for lobbying, not for friends.
    they are othering.but hater’s hate.that is a toughy…
    and some of these people just HATE.
    (like some rad fem seperatists)hopefully it will die out…

    …and they(some T ) really seem to think that the glb community WANTS tg!they often DO NOT!at all.no way….

    and,i find, only a VERY few people who are genderqueer/tg who are vocal, disrespect on wbt women, most are pretty respectful.
    i personally got into it with one tg person on the famous
    blog war a year or more ago (‘stealth is for planes’ yuch)
    i was defending wbt women, and it got nasty, but that seems to be forgotten by by them (hbs’ers i think they were) so, oh well….i tried…

    why don’t YOU write to bilerico bil, over at TBP,
    and get set up to re-post some of this blog at bilerico?
    as a woman?(who went through T…etc.)

    this is a very good blog and should be heard there.
    your angle is great.he is looking for new people, you could re-post some thoughts as an “ally” there.
    here is a link, if interested… you might have to convince him that there would be no flame war(through good modding…)but he’s nice, and very liberal.

    i don’t know THEM personally, but they know of me as polite and civil and commited to that, and educating on this issue.
    via my many comments.so i’d vouch for you,lol, for what it’s worth,
    (doubt that’s needed!)
    i think they would be into your angle, it’s good, it represents alot of women and men. LINK:http://www.bilerico.com/2009/05/want_to_become_a_bilerico_blogger.php

    i do think we are ALL men,or women, and /or androgenous people, of all sorts, not some dehumanizing labels.
    i (personally) see myself as a person, and a guy.
    not anything else except for the political angle,or in conversation.
    if people ARE calling themselves “transmen” tho,
    i support self identity,but i think ‘homo’ and ‘trans’ are created by medical people,as in :”disorder”
    (and never good to “be” a disorder!, you know?)

    like the n-word,used by african americans is NEVER
    cool as a reclaimed word, in my humble opinion…..
    (tho of differant political origin)
    so i politely disagree with some people, too.
    if you want to be heard!
    that is a good place!

    • Suzan Says:


      You are probably right on more levels than you even realize right now.

      I got drawn into anger and wars of ego and lost sight of a big picture. There were flaws in the 1990s Transgender as Umbrella paradigm, communities rather than one community. I wasn’t alone in seeing this but people has staked out ideological positions that caused us to go at each other rather than listen to each other.

      I give shout outs to people I think have good ideas. I’ve been apologizing for my own actions and words that added fuel to the flames.

      This blog is less than a year old and you are right I should perhaps contact Bilerico about guest blogging there.

      At this point I am planning on going to the Creating Change Conference in Dallas in February where I hope to meet some of the other voices in the LGBT/TQ blogosphere.

  4. javier Says:

    keep up the good work, and i hope to see you on bilerico.
    i’ll come back here too.hey, any old “hippy chick” pic’s of yourself,lol?(not to get personal…)
    but i do really love the spirit of the 60’s and alot of the bands…
    and i really DO hope to see you at TBP,
    diversity and tolerance is what is needed, now….
    take care!
    ps i just downloaded some T-rex on apple i-tunes……..

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