One thing that should be obvious but often isn’t is that “transsexual” really doesn’t belong in the LGBT/T category once one is post-SRS.
It is there because of how laws and politics work rather than how lives are lived. Discrimination in matters of employment and access to medical care are obvious issues.
WBTs have been called “separatists” for just going off and assimilating. Calling people who post all over the place “stealth” is a bit of a joke considering how easy it is to track ISPs even when folks use sock puppet e-mail. But let’s assume that most people who have assimilated are only out in the world of 3D to a select circle of friends or for certain purposes.
It isn’t some separatism for most of us. It is lack of common interests. I have known a number of sisters who were involved in the bar and even ball cultures, who found themselves excluded from those scenes once they had SRS.
Once you have had SRS queens no longer relate to you as being one of the gang. If you do not limit your involvement in their scene they will ask you why and you find yourself labeled as both odd and having made a mistake.
Having a vagina others you to people who live as women but keep their male parts. Queens put their post-SRS friends they used to see as sisters on pedestals and tell them how brave they are while gossiping behind their backs, “Well, she got her surgery and thinks she is better than us (forgetting that they put us on the pedestal to begin with) so why is she still hanging around us?”
The message is that we no longer belong there. Time to move on with our lives.
Of course the activists then accuse us of separatism and deserting the community while conveniently forgetting how every year at Pride Day the same dozen people show up and how most of the “community” is dressed in sequins and riding on one of the bar/club floats.
After a few years even when one is an activist being part of that same dozen people starts to feel like being part of a severely marginalized Trotskyite Faction. What is the point?
Perhaps it is different for those who come out through the IFGE route but I suspect it isn’t.
I know it isn’t if one is part of Tri-Ess and actually comes out as transsexual, I’ve read Tapestry in the past and have heard the stories at gender groups of how old CD friends are uncomfortable and nasty towards anyone who realizes they are not transvestite but are actually transsexual. I’ve had transgender friends tell me the same thing about how they were put on a pedestal when they went full time. Told how lucky they are that they can now dress full time. Never mind that the transgender sister has taken the down elevator on the socio-economic scale. Comments like that are why transgender sisters who live 24/7/365 call episodic transvestites fetishists. It isn’t so much that they fetishize the clothes as they hegmonically covet the lives of sisters willing to pay the price in order to live their lives according to their inner needs.
The main reason I believe “transgender” should be limited to only those living 24/7/365 is because, like transsexuals they have their lives colonized and objectified by those of the transvestite class.
At the same time people who are transgender either because that is where their internal compass has landed, or due to economic issues, face conditions the majority of post-SRS sisters are less likely to face such as violence, ghettoization and denial of both economic opportunity and social safety nets.
The Day of Remembrance will soon be upon us. I post articles regarding the murderous violence and senseless slaying of TS/TG sisters even though it isn’t a part of my world where violence more often takes place in the form of denial of health insurance, loss of work due to layoffs and fraudulent financial practices on the part of corporations.
While I will mention DOR the likelihood of my going to an event is very slim. Not because I am afraid of “outing myself” or because I am disinterested but more out of a sense of futility and having to work. The same reason I missed Pride Day. Going to something like this requires planning and the arranging of time, a commitment that conflicts with day to day life in a Nickel and Dimed world.
As time passes after SRS the world of TS/TG is less an active part of life. Even for those of us who blog and consider ourselves activists. It takes little effort for me to be transgender inclusive on so many issues. I learned that while working towards adding gender and perceived gender to the hate crimes laws of California. It isn’t like adding a few phrases that protect transgender folks to any bill aimed at protecting gay and lesbian folks really makes that bill harder to pass.
Yet there are so many causes, so little time and most of my causes are bigger than the identity politics of the “Transgender Community”. Part of why I have called a moratorium on name calling, other than feeling like it is sort picking on people who have a harder life than I do, and not wanting to add to their oppression, is that engaging in name calling takes energy away from more important causes. Like universal health care, hate crimes laws, ENDA, Same Sex Marriage, defending the environment, women’s rights etc.
Of course my working for any of a menu of causes that are positive for me means automatically extending those protections to all. See I’m not some Ayn Randian right wing moron who is all hooray for me, fuck you. I actually believe in equal treatment and the right to human dignity.
But as I said assimilation happens… Even for activists who step beyond identity politics.
It happens for most post-SRS folks without them even trying, indeed it sometimes seems that folks who remain crusaders almost have to constantly make an effort to make themselves visible as transsexual. The exceptions to this are those who are physically obvious although working retail and having encountered many people whose appearances are different, even odd. It sometimes seems that facial hair is the only real give away. I don’t know about some folks but for most of us assimilation seems inevitable.
Particularly if you are authentic and not pretending. The goal was to be a woman, SRS removes the ties that bind one to those who stay transgender and time does the rest.
October 27, 2009 at 4:52 pm
Hun, when I added you to my blogroll, it was as an act of solidarity. I felt that we could bridge that gap between my genderqueerness and your transsexness. Yes, that we are in very different parts of the community but in the community nonetheless. I’m not sure I can keep you on there any more from this post.
I am sorry that the specific gay community you are in does not support you. And yes, if you are living as a straight woman so maybe being in the queer community does not make sense for you. That’s for you to decide, of course, not me. I will always be queer no matter so I really don’t know what that is like and don’t feel I have much if any room to talk on the matter.
But many transfolk, of the gender and/or sex variety, do not follow your same path. They may be queer or have a supportive queer community. They may want to transition medically or they may not. They may want to do some medical stuff but not others. You get my point. It’s that your experience does not stand for all of us. And we all need to support each other, no matter what we decide. We cannot judge each other the way the cisfolk judge us. We must work to kill the transphobia within us. When we attack other transfolks, it internalizes oppressions that hurt us.
And excluding the “transvestites” from the community is something I abhor. Why is their gender identity less legitimate than mine or yours? Why do you think my gender is somehow more trans than theirs? And am I, then, not as trans as you? It is not something for us to decide. Transfolks of all stripes are hated by the cisfolk. Why should we reject them as well? I am really hurt by this post. Crossdressers and such sort are not fetishizing you. Their gender has little to do with yours or mine. They are expressing what is natural to them and having to fight off lots of internalized and external trans- and genderphobia to do so. They are killed just as we are for their genders. I will not dismiss their suffering so easily. When I hear transsexuals make those arguments about transgendered folks, it sounds exactly like how some women talk about transwomen. Ciswomen say the same “colonization” line that you are now putting on CDs.
And this is why I generally can’t talk to WBTs, because I end up getting so burnt. I’m sorry but I can’t have a conversation about this. I just really want to let you know how hurt I am. And I wish I could have a conversation about but I can’t. Every time I do, I end up hurting so badly. It hurts to read that. I feel attacked from my own community and that’s really hard to handle. I do not live in a supportive environment and it’s all I can do to keep my life going. And then to hear that my pains aren’t legitimate? Or that the pains of people like me don’t count? That’s too much to bear from someone I should be fighting alongside…
I am not attacking you for leaving the gay community. Whatever. All I am saying is that you’re trying kick me out of a community because I do not toe a gender line that works for you. I’m happy for you… but at the same time, I am hurt so deeply from this post you have no idea. I can handle a cis person de-legitimating my gender. But when transfolk do it, I collapse. I’m sorry to say something like this and flat-out tell you I most probably cannot have a discussion about it, but I’m already crying. I can’t put myself through more.
October 27, 2009 at 7:49 pm
Boy, oh boy, Nome you are certainly filled with a lot of bullshit presumptions.
You actually spew all the stuff that makes me not want to be around the so called “community” which is actually a construct found only in the heads of queer theorists.
I have long said I do not give a crap about identity, that I think the whole identity thingie is really stupid and that I believe in actions not thoughts.
As for your being hurt. Tough shit. That is your respectability not mine as you are reading without comprehending.
Leaving the gay community? How could I leave something I was never part of? My community includes the anarchists, SDS/MDS, lesbians, feminists, workers, folkies, photographers, artists, writers left wingers. And I have a number of WBT and MBT friends too. But I was never part of the gay community.
Episodic TV do do the same thing to 24/7/365 TGs that they do to WBTs and it is every bit as objectifying and demeaning. Especially coming from a bunch of men with male privilege.
October 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm
Nome, Suzan obviously can speak for herself, but I think one of the factors for many post-ops is that they do not identify as “transfolk” at all, but simply as women. IMO it should not be seen as an insult to trans people just because one does not define herself as one of them, or live that way.
Anyway, I mean no offense by any of this. And I certainly do not think post-ops or anyone else should take offense in the fact that you identify as queer. Each must find her own way. And none may decide for anyone else.
October 27, 2009 at 7:53 pm
Dianakat, I’m a woman with a medical history of transsexualism. Not a transwoman or a gender variant. I sort of hold gender based ideas in contempt and try todo what I want without paying much attention as to if they are butch or femme. I’m an old left wing hippie lesbian feminist.
October 27, 2009 at 7:32 pm
“Community?” I find such constructions more than fanciful; if they exist – and are successful – at all, the nexus is a tightly focused, issue-driven set of concerns that are useful for pragmatic socio-political action, but seldom for day-to-day living.
I have supported various issue-oriented “communities” at times, when there has been a compelling reason to do so, but the real community I live in is very different.
My friends, neighbors, work associates, and some others bond over love and common life. Our regard for each other most often transcends our opinions on issues of the day.
If ghettoes are so good, then why have people fought and died throughout the ages to get out of them?
October 27, 2009 at 10:36 pm
“Community” is a neo-liberal reactionary ideology based on “identity” rather than interests. I am supposed to identify as transgender even though transgender as umbrella didn’t esist until some 25 years after I came out, had SRS and found movements that addressed my real issues as a progressive feminist and lesbian.
The difference between “communities” which I detest and coalitions is that “communities” are based on identities and coalitions are based on issues.
Take for example the issue of “net neutrality”. A wide spectrum of people with a wide range of interests want everyone from the largest corporation to the lowliest blogger to have an equal opportunity to have their say on the web without some major corporation such as Time Warner being able to control that flow.