Really, What IS Wrong With Being……………………………………………..

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.

16 Responses to “Really, What IS Wrong With Being……………………………………………..”

  1. dianakat Says:

    Gosh, I think I agree with every word of this one. If I may, I wil add one anecdote.

    A friend of mine started her transition when I was finishing mine. While still preop, she became an activist and very much bought into the “transgender” narrative. While always respectful to me, she sometimes suggested that surgery was not really that important to her, except that it was necessary to get her IDs and documentation straightened out. She made comments suggesting that she would always be part of the transgender community.

    I met her for a drink a few weeks ago at a gay bar that we had frequented for years. By that time she was going on two years post-op. Someone who knew us from before said something about “transwomen.” I volunteered emphaticlly but politely that I would not know because I was not a “transwoman,” but that I was a woman that happened to have had a transsexual history.

    To my surprise, my friend said “me too,” just as emphatically. Later, speaking to me privately, she made exactly a point that Suzan said in this and a prior post — that you cannot predict how profoundly the surgery changes things — how profoundly it changes YOU.

    I would take it a step further. It is often said that you are still the same person after surgery. I think that really begs a philosophical question of what constitutes a person and what is vital to identity. The change a full operative transition can bring to some of us is so profound that it can be hard to identify any constant with one’s prior life except for continuity of consciousness.

    • Suzan Says:

      After all the fights. I have reached one conclusion regarding myself and that is to be true to those things I hold as ideals and that is this. Yes there is a profound difference and yet that should not matter in my defending the humanity and rights of transgender people to enjoy the same rights that I enjoy. To have the same protections that others take for granted.

      It is the same as my saying I do not have to be a person of color to support the civil rights movements of people of color. Indeed failure to support the rights of others in their struggles for equality lessens my own humanity.

  2. tinagrrl Says:

    I really do not know if I made it clear that I do not hate non-ops or pre-ops. Nor do I stand on the “if you really wanted SRS, you would have saved for it by now” line.

    I knew folks who lived hand to mouth, day to day. Quite a few were illegals. Some had been abandoned by any family they ever had, etc., etc., etc. It would take a miracle for them to ever afford a real apartment — never mind SRS.

    Today economic conditions are quite bad for a lot of folks. Unemployment among those making $150,000 or more is currently 3%. Among those making $15,000 or less it’s closer to 20%. This recession has hit the poor far worse than those well-to-do. It hits those marginalized even worse.

    I do not know what to do about that. I do not know how many stranded inbetween will cope — especially if it takes a long time for any sort of recovery to take hold.

    That still does not change the reality of being pre-op, non-op, or post-op, and our different experiences, different realities.

    Does, “I understand your situation — therefore you’re a woman” really solve anything? Does telling folks exactly what they want to hear — when it might not help them in any way — really solve anything?

    Perhaps working for ENDA. Perhaps a real recovery, with real jobs — where folks are hired on the basis of ability, might just work.

    I just hope folks do not lose hope, do not give up. As Suzan has said, all too often we talk past each other.

  3. femme Says:

    But we are not animals and we live in a world with clothing, as such it becomes what people see or think they know, that matters to most. Since we don’t walk around without clothing society in general isn’t looking for a vagina or penis to decide they see one as one sex or the other. Even you/we must accept the word of another person who had/has dealt with/is dealing with transsexualism, when they say they had surgery because they aren’t walking around nude.

    Then of course there is the issue of the men. If one is to use the same yard stick to define them then oh so many are not men because they can’t/haven’t had phalloplasty.

    I also believe Lisa also made some good points I had not considered. How can we say someone who for whatever reason can not have surgery or has not but has lived many years in society as the woman they knew themselves to be? As you pointed out there are real reasons why some people are having a hard time trying to access proper medical support.
    To suggest they are not really or fully women strips away all the bigotry, misogyny and discrimination they face each day as women. Because that is how society also sees them, and so reacts to them as.

    As for transgender, it’s an umbrella that I also refuse to allow used to describe me as being a part of. To me it’s a word without true and solid meaning, one that in reality could well fit anyone under. When large gay organisations chose to use it as their representation of people who lived with a medical condition I ask them as society gender non conformers why they don’t see themselves then under said umbrella. After all they are not conforming to what main stream society sees as “normal” or proper gender behaviour.

    No myself I will always be a woman first, my medical history or present disability after, since it is but a part of who I am, not the whole.

    • Suzan Says:

      It isn’t others knowing what is between someones legs. It is you knowing what is between your legs.

      Who is this mythical mainstream society any way? The sound like a bunch of phony Republi-Nazi/Christo-fascists. The whole idea of gender being real and not a cultural artifact that is a product of indoctrination like religion is a very conservative position, one pushed by the anti-woman misogynists of the right.

      When people ask me if I know or have known people who have lived for years without SRS I am incredulous. You do realize I am a former sex worker and have been active in the L/G movement for over 40 years, don’t you?

      You do realize that between AIDS and drugs I have had some 20 friends who fit that category die on me during those many years, don’t you?

      This is why even though I do not buy the whole IFGE ideology or argument I support ENDA, hate crimes laws etc. I had to stop listening to the rhetoric in order to take that position.

  4. Lisa Harney Says:

    ” 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.

    Speaking of your experience is positive: Talk about what surgery was to you, how it affected your outlook, your comfort in your body.

    Speaking of your experience is negative: Talking about how your experience denies other women the realities of their experiences, how since they don’t have your experience, they’re still “male.” Defining access to womanhood as a matter of access to cash. That is classist and elitist. I’m sorry if that bothers you, but other trans women’s experiences? They’re not about you. You have the privilege of having been able to afford surgery, but you’re using that privilege as an appeal to authority, telling other trans women what they should call themselves, and describing it as a personal affront that they describe themselves as female.

    Also, I’m not transgender.

    As for misogyny and transphobia, I think I can tell the difference, as can many others. I knew when my boss offered me a ride home in exchange for fellatio that this was misogyny, and I experienced that on my second job after I had started transition. I’ve experienced a lot of sexism over the past 20 years, and I can tell the difference between when I’m getting just sexism and when transphobia’s in the mix. Guys cutting me off mid-sentence and talking over me? Whistling, making lewd sexual innuendo? Being called all kinds of names because I don’t show proper submission and cheerfulness in response? Yeah.

    The dentist who refused to treat my abscess because I took 2mg of estradiol valerate daily? His excuse being that the estrogen might have interacted with the novocaine? Who told me to his face that he would happily treat a cis woman who was taking birth control pills? My cousin who came to stay with me in the mid-90s and proceeded to tell everyone I knew that I was trans and what my name used to be? My housemate a few years later who discovered I was trans and figured that I wanted to be out as trans just like I was out as lesbian, and again told everyone?

    How about one of my best friends, who had surgery a few years ago, but who cannot get a PCP? They refuse her as soon as they learn she’s trans? How about another friend, who had surgery a couple of decades ago, who has had trouble getting insurance because her employers’ insurance carrier defines “transsexual” as a preexisting condition?

    Yeah, I can tell the difference. Transphobia happens when they know you’re trans and don’t believe you’re a woman.

    I did walk away from the trans community several years ago, I do admit this. But I think it was a mistake, and I came back to it and started my blog because I had stumbled across Questioning Transgender Politics and that triggered two decades of bitterness from trying to be nice and accommodating and not being the one to rock the boat when people decided they could treat me like crap because I was trans.

    I don’t think that in terms of the bigger picture, I disagree with you and Suzan, and I respect Suzan a lot (and haven’t read as much from you). This one point though? Getting upset because trans women are calling themselves female? Insisting that they should be defining themselves as male? I don’t see the point in it.

    I also don’t think most of them are “transgender” in the sense you’re using the word, and most intend to have surgery. Some have already had surgery.

    I don’t see the value in trying to focus on what to call women who have or have not had surgery. We already know what to call women, it’s just a matter of respecting that. Now, how do we make sure that every woman who needs surgery gets it? Every woman who needs a job? Needs a house? Needs to be sure her marriage won’t be annulled?

  5. Willow Arune Says:

    Well speaking only for myself (one always has to make that clear)and in a nutshell – nothing.

    Part of my life experience is as physically male, as in transtition, and as a woman now. I can no longer deny any part of my life for that is why I came to be me. And being a transsexual woman is a mark of both pride and accomplishment – with a dash of courage to be there as well.

    I do not hide; I do not advertise.

    As to transgender, I am transsexual and in the popular view, that is part of the larger umbrella of transgender. I have no problem with that, no issues at all. Those who wish to make it an issue always do so for some base reason, to elevate themsleves above others – or so it seems to me. Part of the larger group and also the small, as I am Canadian but also British Columbian.

    But a word. I embrace my being, and part of that is an acknowledgment that I was, but no longer am, male and am, but not quite woman. I am my own being, fully and without shame. My life, you see, is not adverse to labels for those are only words. And my life is more than mere words…

    I cannot deny my being or any part of it. I can and do celibrate it, to the full. That is a private celibration, for me and my partner, not an activist one. A quite one, not a brash one. In our quiet moments, I am her “man-woman person” and that seems to be simply wonderful as well.

    How can one wall off part of a life in shamne? No. All went to making me what I am today, and all is part of the mixture. I may not be all man or all woman, but I very much am all me.

  6. Andrea B. Says:

    Both these recent articles n this subject are very well written.

    Both articles will give people something to think about.

  7. ronnie klinsky Says:

    i think that being transsexual got pushed back when the likes of blanchard, bailey got involved and tried to sensationlise the stupid talk showsthey were kind of educational in the early 90’s but now there is nothing educational about them i might add this for intersex also

    ronnie (striving for responsibleintersex activism)

  8. Teri Says:

    As a trans woman I don’t doubt the profound effect SRS has on anyone who identifies themselves as a woman. How could it not be?

    Support transgender’s rights? As someone who lives full time as a woman and is referred to as one, does that mean you would support my right to be identified as a woman? Including having the F that is on my drivers license? Or is this a right only granted to those who have become post-op? Am I an insult to what you define as “woman” because I have not had the surgery?

    I think I understand where some are coming from but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. Suppose it might be how a post-op might feel when a woman born female ostracizes you for never having had a period of living as a girl.

    I agree that there are many variations of trans identities just at there are in woman’s lives. The definitions of “female” are different for women born female and women born transsexual (or male).

    If we draw the line between woman and man at penis or no penis it puts the rights and lives of pre-op or non-op trans women in jeopardy.

    There seems to be this constant fear that some trans women will have be given the right to wag their dicks in private women spaces. So why not just make it illegal for any woman with a penis to show it in such places? Make it so a doctor has to OK the female of identification cards like here in CA.

    Maybe we need a dialog of what other fears folks have with women like myself so we don’t get what little rights we already have as women taken away.

    • Suzan Says:

      Yes I support you having appropriate ID s long as you live 24/7/365.

      I am not very big on the identities thing. I find it to mostly be a bunch of word games played by people on line. Over 40 years since I transitioned and meeting hundreds of different people whose lives have been touch by various trans-prefixed words and I rarely encounter the identity arguments in the real world. Mostly i hear them on line. Identity means far less to me than actions.

      I don’t buy the bathroom panic crap. That is nothing but right wing bullshit. The same bullshit they whipped out against the Equal Rights Amendment and every LGBT/T non-discrimination bill since.

      On the other hand I am I’m a lesbian who has had several transgender sisters as lovers and the femme in the streets but boys in the sheets complicates the picture a good deal.

      I kind of think many transgender people think that the only reason for supporting the rights of a particular group are “sameness”.

      I support the Human Rights of all sorts of groups including some whose culture I don’t much care for.

  9. tinagrrl Says:

    First, pre-op is pre-op. There is no other way to put it. Pre-ops live in a sort of no-mans-land (all possible puns intended). Every post-toastie has been there. We have almost all had to navigate that minefield. Those who never had a problem are the few who said, “I’m a girl”, changed their hair or dress, and went on about their business, with little or no problems.

    Most of us also had to “learn the rules”. We learned that “being a girl” was a bit more than just saying it. we learned it by BEING and DOING. We learned it by living 24/7/365, through thick and thin — working through possible problems in Pharmacies (“why do YOU want these hormones?” – after presenting a valid prescription, etc.)

    I never took the liberty of inserting myself into an all women kind of space while pre-op. Nor did I ever attempt to “fool”, or lead anyone on during my transition — this even before coming out to the entire world. My process was of utmost importance to me, and I was not about to mess it up.

    I did go out with some guys — I had to try, even though I didn’t like guys. Result — the sex was good — but everything else sucked. Oh yeah, about that word “sucked” — I do not know how many times I had to tell different “tranny-chasers”, “I’M THE GIRL!”. Damn these “straight guys” can be a problem.

    As far as other folks go — of course I support your right to the “correct” ID if you are 24/7. Like Suzan, I think the “bathroom issue” is pure bullshit.

    I do, however, have a problem with the folks who run around saying “We are ALL the same!”. Just from experience — we are NOT.

    I’ve known folks who have jumped off the gurney when being wheeled into the operating room for SRS. I’ve known a woman who, after MANY years of being “pre-op” — and quite beautiful — came to the conclusion she was “a gay man with a very feminine gender presentation”.

    I sometimes wonder how many other folks would come to that conclusion — if they could work through all their issues.

    Over the years I’ve met quite a few “ex-trans” folks. They went back to being guys. Some because they were afraid they could not survive, others because as they aged, as they were less and less attractive, it was not “fun” any more. Whatever you say, this is VERY different from transsexuality. Where did I meet these folks — well I hung around The Edelweiss and also tended bar at various “tranny parties” held on the same time and place every week. Sometimes I met people who I had known over 20 years before. Some were working in various shops around Greenwich Village. They had turned into old gay guys. That too is very different from transsexuality.

    I do not support the “HBS” and “Classic Transsexual” factions. I often wonder what they really mean, who they are trying to convince.

    At the same time, if you are non-op for a fairly long time — if you have chosen to be non-op, if you do not want SRS — you are different from the pre-op who is doing their very best to access surgery.

    I’ve known some rather attractive Queens, some great looking “tranny hookers” — some are “transgender” because they will never afford SRS. Others because they (for many different reasons) cannot afford to give up their livelihood. That’s a very bad place to be stuck. If you cannot see how stuck they are, how hopeless their long term prospects are, you either haven’t a heart, or are so sheltered you haven’t a clue.

    So, there are many problems. One rarely mentioned concerns “throwaway kids” — kids kicked out by their “loving families”. Kids who, it can be said, are “raised by wolves”. Some are almost impossible to help — kindness is weakness — show any and you will be ripped off. Survival TODAY is the goal.

    Perhaps “transgender” is not always the correct term. At the same time, many of these folks cannot be described as “women”. They are, often by choice, in a different place.

    For that reason, I cannot understand why so many folks want to include post-ops in their “transgender umbrella”, while at the same time, they reject that description for themselves.

    I understand those who say — “If you don’t want to be ‘transgender’ — don’t worry, WE don’t want you!”.

    O.K. — but, why are you still DEMANDING to be, in EVERY WAY, WOMEN? Why are some of these folks DEMANDING to be, legally, WOMEN?

    I.D. for getting about in your everyday life is one thing. Using the correct pronouns, insuring access to jobs, services, insurance, etc., is another. These things are about common decency. Those who would deny that to pre-ops and non-ops is a bigot. If you pointedly use the “wrong” pronoun you are either ignorant or a bigot — or both.

    The trans-panic and gay-panic defense must be ruled as invalid.

    Anti-LGBT trans folks must be either shown the error of their ways, or ignored. It’s quite simple to oppose the inclusion of the “T” without being anti-LGB. We have too many issues that affect us all.

    The same can be said of “anti-T” LGB folks — they are just too stupid to see the issues that affect us all, and how all the gender crap can be turned against them.

    Then, of course we have gay FtM’s and lesbian MtF’s — who belong to L, G, sometimes B, and (even if in the past) T.

    Those who continue to call names AFTER we say we support their rights, because we do not totally accept all of them as “women” (THEIR DEFINITION), and those who continue to call us names because we do not REJECT, I SAY REJECT, the right of folks to define themselves as “transsexual (it seems ONLY THEY have that right), or because we will not call anyone they do not like “MEN”, are — in my opinion — misguided.

    With all this internecine warfare among some of the more marginalized groups around it’s a wonder if we ever achieve any of our goals — unless it’s mutual destruction.

    Comon now folks — tell me how wrong I am. Prove my point.

  10. Willow Arune Says:

    Tina wrote…

    “I never took the liberty of inserting myself into an all women kind of space while pre-op. Nor did I ever attempt to “fool”, or lead anyone on during my transition — this even before coming out to the entire world. My process was of utmost importance to me, and I was not about to mess it up.”

    I think, Tina, you and are are very similar in this regard. It is based in respect not only for yourself, but for the rights and – yes – privileges of others. Ignore those at your peril.

    A very young TS newbie once called me to complain. She had only started, was years pre-, and was totally offended that the women at her gym class would not use the same changing room as she did. She had total respect for her rights, and none for theirs. Ditto the pre- who demanded to use the women’s changing room. Sorry – only after you have “earned your spurs”. Transition is, as you say, a time of being in between, neither fish nor foul, and as you normally fool no one, you might as well be candid about things.

    So much to so many hangs on but a word. Why not simply accept that we are somewhat unique in many ways, and thus fall into several normally divergent terms. In one sense – and I mean no offence to anyone – we are female, male, and even transgender. The very way our lives are lived gives us pieces of each, and what is wrong with that? Sure, if you really wish to be in all senses of the word “normal”, you simply are in the wrong body and mind. To the Thais, everyone comes back as a katoey, and there were three at the start of the world, a man, a woman and a katoey. We get to be all three in our lifetimes. Normal? Well, normal for a TS.

    So I really cannot get too upset about which term is used. That is personal – you have every right to be different. The problem for you if you demand to be one or the others, is that while you know which you are, others may will be in doubt. You cannot control them, only you. So while demanding to be one makes for issues arising, being comfortable with all makes life so very easy.

    Now, body language and tone are important here, but when no insult it intended, I can easily life under each term – and several others besides. Add a negative tone and any become fightin’ words. To me, it is the intent, not the word itself, a very subjective and responsive approach. So, you know what? If I am in doubt, and before battle stations, I do something so easy and so fun that I wonder why more do not do the same.

    I ask.

    Maybe not directly, but one or two pointed questions easily tell me if I was uncertain of the tone.

    Of course, I am (according to some) rather brazen. During transition, out for supper one day, I noticed a woman and her daughter staring. After I finished, I got up, went over to their table, smiled and said “I noticed you staring, which I was taught to regard as very impolite. Do you have a question?”. The mother stumbled with words, finally saying “No, not at all. I’m so sorry – I don’t have my glasses…” and after that, we all laughed and introduced ourselves.

    To me, a key to successful transition is a damn good sense of humour. It’s nice to keep it after transition, and to bear in mind that what is clear to you is not necessarily clear to others, so give them the benefit of a doubt and don’t get hung up on a mere word. Up here, the most powerful unions went with transgender as an umbrella term after a very long debate. So? It gave rights to some who needed them, and did not bother those that felt they were offended.

    I do have to wonder with some complain that others “are demanding that I be transgender”. For heaven’s sake – take it easy. Daily I get classed or labelled as many things, and that is up to others, well beyond my control and whatever they wish to call or label me, that is them, not me. I remain free to be whatever I wish. The old saw is that you cannot control what others feel, only how you feel. Ditto that with words and terms. I cannot control – nor do I wish to do so – how others “define” me. That’s up to them. And what they say has no effect on me – unless I let it. And as I accept my trinity of beings, it ain’t hard to get along…

  11. tinagrrl Says:

    Ah dear, one night, while still pre-op, after working all night behind the bar, we (“the crew) all went to breakfast – we usually did.

    Anyway, I had the car — so I let folks out and found a parking place.

    As I left the car and walked to the restaurant a nice looking man spent an inordinate amount of time staring at me. this had happened before — usually I ignored it.

    This time, I asked “what the hell are you looking at” — in a rather gruff voice. He got all flustered. It seems he was looking at a nice woman — with a great figure (that was then). He apologized. I was struck near dumb. I was ready to read him for staring — and he was just looking at my ass (which is not an uncommon thing for guys to do at 5 AM).

    I learned an important lesson that night.

    After that, I smiled sweetly — until something “more” was said. I was very feisty back then — going as far as telling teamsters unloading a truck to “keep your mouths shut, I’m not in the mood for any crap today”.

    That usually worked quite well — folks were not expecting some blonde (that was back then) to give them any guff.

    After SRS, when I went through another round of cruel losses, I became really depressed. My first response was to “try harder”.

    Didn’t work — just drew more attention to myself.

    It was only after I became more natural, less contrived — after I let my hair go back to its natural color, after I toned down the clothes, cut back severely on the makeup — that I stopped being “read” all the time.

    Next, the move to Texas helped complete my post-SRS-transition. Folks no longer “read” me (or bothered to “read” me — does it matter?).

    In my daily life — I’m just a plain older woman. No different from so many others. As a result, I now live the life I always thought I should. I’m who I always wanted to be.

    The only place the words “trans”, “transsexual”, “transgender”, “post-op”, etc., etc., etc. appear in my life is on line.

    I’ve demonstrated for peace, I’ve marched for ENDA, I’ve signed, contributed, and done what a 71 year old can do.

    I worked, paid taxes, I’ve done the best I can (even though it’s not always great). I lead a very quiet, peaceful life. At the same time, I still do not like the idea that others can define me, or tell me who I am, what I am, and what rights I do or do not, have.

    I tend to speak up — I rarely keep quiet when faced with injustice — even though it rarely affects me directly.

    I also really dislike folks trying to tell me what I’ve said (when I haven’t), and what I think.

    Too many folks seem to think they can read my mind, or divine my intentions.

    It’s really too bad.

  12. Willow Arune Says:


    And isn’t it nice now? To quote an Alaska governor – retired – “You betcha!”…

    I hope I am not guilty of trying to read your mind. Heavens no. As to defining – well, I guess we just have to differ on that one. I really don’t know – nor much care – how others define me. At least, not until what they do interferes with what I do. As to telling me who I am, no one has tried in years,. At least, not face to face. What I am? Willow, of course. After that, you may have one opinion, others others, and more more. No use me trying to change anyone’s mind – my way to to let them be part of my life or not – that is *my* decision. Bit if a brat, I am… Oh dear. I am saying what I am, aren’t I?

    “Rights” is a term capable of many definitions, so mine may differ from yours, but if we are talking legal, mais oui.

  13. tinagrrl Says:

    I must add that soon after I returned to “trans-world”, “gender-world”, whatever — this after being away, avoiding, pretending for well over 15 years — I realized that most of the Queens and other folks I knew years before, were DEAD. Many had been lost to AIDS, others to the fact being “trans” is/can be a very hard life.

    I did see someone who had been a young Queen back when. She was now an old, tired, VERY ANGRY, beat up hooker. One morning, after a night at the Edelweiss, a friend (“Chantel” – who is now a gay guy, with a fine lover) and I were having breakfast. There was a diner right next to the Edelweiss. Usually Queens, local working men, and cops were in attendance. Anyway, some cops came around asking EVERYONE if we had seen thie aforementioned person. We found out later that she had run away as fast as possible. It seems she had thrown some John out the hotel window — leading to his death (as far as we were told).

    This indicates the amount of RAGE so many of “the girls” have. They may well start off being fairly innocent kids — and end up hardened and beaten by the basic unfairness of life. Like many other young people, they might begin by thinking they “know what it’s all about” — and end upbeing destroyed just by the fact they can’t get an education, can’t get, or hold a job, and are rousted by the cops for absolutely no reason.

    Being a middle class pre-op, a later well-to-do transitioner, a professional who hits a “bump in the road” while transitioning, is a VERY different thing. Having ANY kind, or amount, of support system left, is a very different thing.

    People like the one I described are the very ones so many of the “purity-patrol-transsexuals” decry. They are the folks even many “transgenders” would prefer to exclude from their “club”.

    Much of this crap is about CLASS. It’s about “education level” (AKA – CLASS), etc.

    Wherever you go — it’s always the same CRAP.

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