One Size Does Not Fit All: Max Wolf Valerio: a Story of Interest

Last week on Facebook Max Wolf Valerio, author of The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male wrote a comment that included the observation that follows this introduction.  When I read it I immediately asked him if I could publish it.

He edited out names and polished it up a bit and handed it to me. leaving me to give it context and a frame.

One of the things that has long bothered me about Transgender Inc is the total domination by people who are mostly privileged female gendered transgender people, the majority of whom are male bodied for one reason or another.  Theoretically this should not be a problem and indeed probably wouldn’t be a problem were the dominating voice open minded and more willing to hear dissenting voices.  Unfortunately the dominating “leaders” hysterically attack dissent with a ferocity similar to level one found under Stalin.

Too often the dominating faction of female gendered folks have used the cost of T to M sex reassignment surgery along with the greater surgical difficulty to further the ideological concept of SRS as being an elitist option only available to small numbers of privileged Transsexual to Female people.  There is a tendency to downplay the physical aspects of changing sex whether T to F or T to M in favor of identity.

Then there is the one size fits all “Transgender Community” which bears a startling resemblance to the Borg Collective from Star Trek.  Once the collective has claimed you as a member, resistance becomes futile, you will be assimilated.

Over the years I’ve gained perspective from listening to the guys, the brothers, who are T to M.

The paradigm of one size fits all “Transgender Community as Umbrella” doesn’t fit many of them any better than it fits many post-transsexual women.  But one would never know that from the Transgender Borg Collective leadership, which loves to homogenize people as well as use them as tools to serve the collective ideology, but which hates to hear dissenting voices.

When  T to F post transsexual people say they don’t feel they are part of “The Community” or that they feel their point of view is erased they are called elitists and other names. One would rarely know if brothers embrace the harmonious choir of the Transgender Borg or not because one rarely hears T to M folks at all.

The one thought that seems most anathema to the Transgender Borg Community, which embraces all sorts of  gender diversity, is the idea that post-transsexual men and women might want to be just ordinary men and women without any trans-prefixed words as adjectives in front of that man or woman.

Too often the opinion of the Transgender Borg has a hegemonic effect within the LGBT/T Communities resulting in actions and terminology that we find insulting, degrading and offensive.   Further the one size solutions offered “other” us by including us in this “Third Gender” category that seems automatic with the label of “transgender”.  That form of hegemony demands we embrace the Transgender Borg “Identity” while denying us the autonomy to just be ordinary women and men.
Here is a story of interest:

By Max Wolf Valerio

I just came back from the New York area where I gave a reading and talk at a Domestic Violence Shelter and another reading for a more general LGBT audience. The shelter was doing a “transgender” training to facilitate awareness and sensitivity toward any trans clients that may need their services. I understand that “transgender” is seen as an “umbrella” term, and while I didn’t make a stink, I certainly did take great care in my talk to distinguish transsexuals who medically transition – from those “transgender” people who do not.

One of the interesting things about this training was that one of the newer employees at the shelter was a very nice and very young genderqueer person who went by “they” and “it”.    Sigh…

Now, this person, a biologically intact natal female, (what else?) picked me up in the morning from my hotel and drove me to the Domestic Violence Shelter training.  She was gracious and I was certainly not going to be rude to her in any way. (I am going to say “her” as ALL the people who do talk about her when she is not in the same room tend to call her as “she”. They feel a bit funny about it, but really — it is HARD TO CALL SOMEONE “IT” or “THEY”).

I did get some sense as events unfolded of how confused the genderqueer (FTM) person is making people at the shelter. Some view her as a “transgender” spokesperson. Now, that is all well and good but there are alarming aspects.

One became more apparent as my visit was about to conclude. I did not know until I was just about to get on the train to LEAVE that — she is trying to get trans men accepted into the shelter. I mean as people being sheltered. This domestic violence shelter is only for women and children.

I had assumed, of course, that since the shelter was having an issue with trans people, that they were having an issue with accepting trans women into the shelter! But, NO, the big issue, the one causing controversy was whether or not FTMs should be allowed in.

AGGGH. My genderqueer host(ess) had hinted at this when I first met her. In retrospect, she had said something about trans men being able to have access since we don’t all identify as “men”. I was very, very uncomfortable when she brought this up, and she was a host, and I was only at the moment being driven to my morning reading and so again, I am a diplomat and do not get in people’s faces – although I have my ways… heh. I mean, as a writer and not as an in-your-face activist type I have my ways … Any way, I did say to her, that I felt that in essence, trans men will self-select as to whether we will go into a shelter like this, and that this helps clear up the issue. And, I believe that is true but this scenario is troubling and shocking nonetheless.

I did make a point right away in my talk that morning to say that I was primarily talking about the experience and lives of medically transitioned transsexuals. I did take care to distinguish us as being simply men and women. I talked about our “transition” as a sex change, since I feel that phrase really says it best. I also made sure to relate that transsexualism is NOT a political movement to over turn gender roles or the “binary gender system”, and that we can be of any political persuasion or religious persuasion from conservative to leftist radical, from Catholic to Buddhist to atheist or agnostic and all things in-between. We are men and women, not stand-ins for utopian gender fantasies.

Later, the next morning as I was being driven to my train to depart, my driver who was another host, a primary host who had invited me, and this time a non-trans lesbian woman. On the drive, she made it very clear to me that trans male inclusion was THE TRANS ISSUE of debate. I shocked her when I declared that I actually was against the idea of trans men being allowed in a woman’s shelter for domestic violence. She was taken aback — “Wow, that is interesting.”

At this point, she was letting me off to get on the train to New York City (Grand Central Station). I did not understand, until that moment, that the issue that was being debated was whether or not TRANS MEN should be at a domestic violence shelter for women and children! I guess this is probably more prevalent than I realize… I mean, genderqueer “FTM” people who go by ambiguous or odd pronouns advocating not for trans women, but for the inclusion of trans MEN in women’s space! Sigh…

Apparently, and I did not know this, many on the domestic violence shelter staff felt that “trans men were MEN” and that we, like all men, should not be allowed in the shelter! CORRECT! Too bad that the genderqueer person and other confused if well meaning people on staff argued AGAINST this basic fact. So, there are people actively undoing our identities and being seen as experts! This is horrifying.

We do have our work cut out for us. This is important work, no doubt. I know I’ve neglected replying to all your posts regarding this matter, but I get so tired of the whole thing. However, this does not mean that we, transsexuals – men and women, should not continue to vociferously defend our identities against the onslaught of “genderqueer”, or even, the popular understanding of “transgender” which is often indistinguishable from that.

And, yes the gay borg is very friendly with the idea of genderqueerish transgender identities because well, they like “queer” gender as often the L and G and B enjoy playing with gender role expression. That is well and good, as far as it goes, but it is not what we are about.

I guess my trip also made me sit up and take notice. It is alarming that this is what average non-trans people are being exposed to.

Another woman who helped sponsor me was very uncomfortable with calling anyone “it” — and was just confused and unsure as to how that fit into the dialogue. She knew somehow, instinctively (she is a bit older, even older than me, an older feminist activist, and somehow savvy) – that doing “sensitivity training” with the shelter staff around calling people “ze” and “hir” and “it” and ah, “they” (AGGGH) was not to the point. Still, how much can people know or understand when the voice of “it” let’s say, is becoming such a dominant voice? Also, transsexual people who have medically transitioned often live in fear of being called “it” if our trans past is revealed. So, here was someone wanting trans men allowed in the women’s shelter since we were not actually men and calling herself “it” and therefore claiming that as a viable choice.

Of course, you know that I give a rat’s ass what anyone decides to call themselves and if someone wants to be “it” that is fine with me.

But please – PLEASE leave me out of your weird politics.

It has nothing to do with me, or us – actual transsexuals who have changed our sex. Sex change still says it – don’t you think? All this “gender transition”. this “genderqueer” crap is muddying the water.

And, turning out to be more trouble than we had imagined.

Max Wolf Valerio

27 Responses to “One Size Does Not Fit All: Max Wolf Valerio: a Story of Interest”

  1. Andrea B. Says:

    Another T to M who just got woke up.

    I have heard similar form other people, T to F and T to M.

    One person I know had a bizarre situation in hospital two years ago where she was accussed of being transphobic by a lesbian nurse for not calling her sex reasignment surgery, gender realignment surgery. She was then told she was homophobic, because she was heterosexual, post surgery.

    The person giving her the crap was the LGBT diversity nurse.

    Before I gave up on the lists, I was starting to hear similar with increasing frequency.

  2. Cyndi Says:

    My spouse is an androgyn. I won’t say how ze was born as that would muddy your perception of hir.
    Trans seperatism hurts my family.
    There is nothing other about my spouse. Just because you feel less than if you are seen as a third gender doesn’t make it so. Please don’t other my spouse and those like hir by insinuating that being 3rd gender is ‘less than’.

    • Suzan Says:

      I don’t much care about what “genderqueers” do think, feel or say. I don’t care how they live their lives.

      We have zip/zero/nada in common. Their cause is not my cause.

      Just keep your hegemonic transgender Borg Collective ideology off my back and I don’t care.

      I personally believe in a more limited definition of transgender that drops the transvestites and genderqueers. It makes it easier to pass laws.

      But that is a problem for someone else. I figure that your inclusion makes it difficult to pass laws that don’t much affect me so you are a problem for the Borg, not for me.

      Just don’t try to claim we are some how related and I won’t jump down your throat.

  3. Kyle Says:

    I can’t see why we can’t work together. I am a genderqueer ftm (no quotation marks please). I pass for male, take T, had my tits off, but I don’t identify as male strictly. I identify as both. This identity makes me want a place in women only spaces. I would feel safer in the women’s shelter and even the women’s locker room/ bathroom. I don’t deny your right to be defined as simply male, but I still think our political struggles are linked together.

    • Suzan Says:

      You may think our struggles are somehow linked together but I don’t and apparently neither does Max.

      But let me put this a different way. I had a sex change operation years before the social constructing of the transgender Borg. I find the ideology of the Transgender Borg, particularly the Gospel according to Virginia Prince but also the whole post-modern pile of gender BS to be antithetical to my philosophical thinking and to my feminist politics.

      Max’s take on these matters is no doubt different from mine. Hell there are post-transsexual women, whose philosophy and whose take on what it means to have dealt with transsexualism is completely different from mine. Sometimes so much so that we can’t stand each other.

      Why should having had a sex change operation make us part of some sort of hive like consciousness when even members of blood kin families can easily hate each other?

      Unfortunately the hive mentality of the Transgender Borg Collective isn’t very much into people having independent thoughts about what having been born transsexual and having had a sex change operation means to them, particularly if it contradicts the rigid ideology of the collective.

  4. amym440 Says:

    The LGB and T are hell bent that they are going to tattoo all transsexuals as LGBT affirming and transgender whether we wish to be or not. I tried complaining to the aclu of all things and guess what they didn’t get it. They have an equality staff most likely attached to NCTE working inside their organization. I gave the lesbian lady an earful on the fact that not all transsexuals are to be automatically considered transsexual or transgender. It is frustrating the levels they go to drown our voices out.

    • Suzan Says:

      I don’t need a T to be part of the part of LGBT. I’m Lesbian. As for everyone claiming to be transsexual because they think it is somehow higher up some sort of scale rather than something different from transgender….

      I’m an existentialist. Actions count for me more than claims of identity. People with transsexualism get sex change operations. People with transgenderism do not. Now we can argue about whether or not hormones and other surgery such as top surgery show commitment. I’m personally more inclined to give political support to those transgender people who show the commitment of living 24/7365 as well as hormones and to surgery either reduction in the case of T to M or growing your own and electrolysis for T to F people.

      But I get tired of the whole genderqueer trip. I get tired of people thinking I should be supportive of heterosexually privileged and male privileged, male bodied people claiming they are the same as me (only differing in degree) because they dress up for what ever reason they dress up. (I’ll even cut them the slack that it is for role-playing and not-fetishistic).

      No it isn’t the same thing and while it is all well and good that they like doing this and should be protected from hate crimes etc. The fact remains I have other causes that are near and dear to me that do not involve my focusing on their issues.

  5. tinagrrl Says:

    Cyndi writes: “My spouse is an androgyn. I won’t say how ze was born as that would muddy your perception of hir.
    Trans seperatism hurts my family.
    There is nothing other about my spouse. Just because you feel less than if you are seen as a third gender doesn’t make it so. Please don’t other my spouse and those like hir by insinuating that being 3rd gender is ‘less than’.”

    Max Wolf Valerio: “Still, how much can people know or understand when the voice of “it” let’s say, is becoming such a dominant voice? Also, transsexual people who have medically transitioned often live in fear of being called “it” if our trans past is revealed. So, here was someone wanting trans men allowed in the women’s shelter since we were not actually men and calling herself “it” and therefore claiming that as a viable choice.”

    Interesting — you affirm “it”, and seem to think it’s “othering” of your spouse when WE are “othered” by being called “it”. I think Max said he didn’t give a damn what you do — as long as you do not claim YOUR desires/needs/wants/etc. to be typical, and the pattern to be used when dealing with all transgender or transsexual people.

    Our stating our needs somehow “others” your spouse — while your dictating to others how WE should be treated is merely “common sense” — or something like it?

    Or, to put it another way — “who gives a damn how we treat, or what we say, about those gender binary affirming post transsexuals — we’re the ‘vanguard’, they’re just crap”. Does that state it clearly?

  6. ConvertingErica Says:

    I am all in favor of the TS/IS succession from the LGBT. As a transsexual woman, I know that it is difficult when I hear about different bills going through congress and I see arguments over “bathroom” issues and what not. It is totally frustrating to know that the vision most lawmakers get in their head when they think of the TG community is that of some guy in a dress who is going to rape children in a bathroom. It is very sad indeed that we need to work to portray ourselves as just men and women who happen to have been born girls and boys, respectively.

    However, it is even more sad that while even though true TS/IS individuals only make up 10% of the TG community, 95% of the protections are only needed by the TS/IS community. A cross-dresser doesn’t “need” protections going to a hospital…just take of the wig. A genderqueer person doesn’t “need” the protections as they do somewhat identify as their birth gender. But TS/IS people do and they are getting lumped in with the rest of the group, and misidentified, misgendered, and misunderstood because of it.

  7. Josh Says:

    Yeah, I think Valerio is out line when he says, “Of course, you know that I give a rat’s ass what anyone decides to call themselves and if someone wants to be “it” that is fine with me. But please – PLEASE leave me out of your weird politics.” This is the same bullshit that HRC pulled several years back when they advocated leaving gender identity out of the employment non-discrimination act (ENDA). Clearly, Valerio believes that there’s more validity in a binary gender than a genderqueer identity, and I disagree.

    As to the issue of whether transmen belong in a shelter for women and children, that’s contentious. Where’s the place for transmen who are victims of domestic violence? Regardless of the particulars of the transman’s identity, he’ll have a difficult time finding a safe haven from domestic violence. I think gay cisgender men encounter a similar dilemma because there a few shelters open to men who domestic violence victims. But even if there were, they are some transmen who would feel uncomfortable or unsafe about sharing a safe haven with cismen, especially if the perpetrator in question was a man. I think there has to be alternative LGBT friendly shelters where people who don’t fit neatly into categories can go for help. Whether that particular shelter referred to by Max should be open to transmen, I don’t know.

    What I think is really dangerous is the exclusive identity politics advocated by Max and Suzan. The fact is that genderqueer people and transexuals with binary gender identities do have things in common. For starters, they both feel that the gender assigned at birth does not completely fit them. To me, that seems like a huge commonality. Moreover, both groups tend to face similar challenges during parts of their lives. For instance, many went through a period (or always) in which they face gender related discrimination whether it be employment or housing or education or whatever. There’s plenty of areas where experiences are similar.

    It sounds to me like Max and Suzan feel that genderqueer people are either scared to transition or have gender confusion when in fact they hold a legitimate identity that deserves to be respected and protected. Problem is that it’s more difficult because society doesn’t accept it and harder to understand than binary identities for people who haven’t experienced it. What’s worse is that they seem to blame genderqueer people for being outspoken because they feel that it undermines transexuals who “just want to be women or men”. It’s not about you, Max and Suzan!

    For the record: I am an FTM with a binary gender identity.

    • Suzan Says:

      I don’t believe transmen belong in Women’s Shelters, the Michigan Women’s Music festivals or in any other sort of woman space. T to F people have had to fight too hard to be included in woman spaces to have t to M folks who want it both ways fuck up what we have worked so long and so hard for.

      You claim male identity or trans-identity or genderqueer identity then go to the men’s shelter and move into men’s space.

      But don’t come here expecting that whipping out a Transgender Borg Talking point will impress me.

      I rejected the Borg Collective and I’m immune to the garlic of their talking points.

  8. G Says:

    Cindi, I can’t thank you enough! Although, I do agree with Max that when I transition I want to be referred to with such masculine pronouns as he, his, him, etc., my first lover was, as your lover is, androgynous and was later proven to have both high levels of estrogen and testosterone. In addition, I was told by my endocrinologist that I “have abarrently high levels of testosterone”, which could be a reasonable explanation as to why i have a female body but identify as male. The bottom line is that none of us need to be judging eachother, none of us truly know what is going on in another person’s body. For all any of us know, the person or people we’re judging, could be experiencing chemical fluctuations or have other occurences in their bodies that doctors have yet to encounter.

  9. libertywolf Says:

    I love how you put things Suzan! I mean, “the garlic of their talking points”. Same here. I’ve said it all before, and I will probably say it again, but really ah – that says it.

    Thank you for the honor of being in your blog here and I do hope that the discussion helps us to get farther along the road to some kind of resolution, or at least clarity. Like ConvertingErica I am nearly for succession if that is what will help us to clarify our position as distinct from the “trangender borg”. “Genderqueer” is a primarily politicized identity, and while it may express an actual angst with gender or sex, it certainly does not have much to do with our situation as men and women of transsexual history. I don’t mind people calling themselves “it” but really, please don’t do it and say you represent ME. Be more specific and take care to make those very important distinctions.

    Max Wolf Valerio

  10. Andrea B. Says:

    @ Max Wolf Valerio,

    I am in complete agreement with you.

  11. Andy Johnathan Says:

    Susan, about your comment about “commitment”, what if a transsexual person can’t get surgery or even hormones due to health issues? I personally know a trans man who had his testosterone taken away because his doctor thought it was “unhealthy”. I know a transsexual people who have their hormones taken away after being on it for at least a year, because all of the sudden their doctor was “uncomfortable”.

    Also, not only can some transsexual people not get surgery due to health reasons, they also can’t due to financial reasons. A disproportionate amount of ts people (especially transsexual women) are on disability, so they live on a fixed income. I know *several* ts women who identify as 100% female but can’t afford genital reconstruction surgery. A couple have experience homelessness.

    I am a transsexual man. I wanted to be on hormones since I was 14 but had to wait almost a decade due to transphobic doctors and therapists who did not take me seriously. I have now been on hormones for a year but I still fear they will be taken away from me. My new PCP is very ignorant and even admitted to me that she “doesn’t get it”. She feels if I don’t continue seeing a psychotherapist, then I should stop hormone treatment, even though I even now have a letter for bottom surgery! Even though I have my letter for both top and bottom surgery, I can’t afford it as I am unemployed.

    There is so much classism that I see within the ts “community”. Both ts men and ts women are guilty of it. The privileged ts folks feel that because *they* could afford genital reconstruction surgery and/or chest reconstruction surgery, then everyone else can. They feel if you can’t you are a failure and not really a “true transsexual”.

    • Suzan Says:

      Oh yes the can’t take hormones for medical reasons talking point… FAIL…

      I don’t care about identity, thoughts or fantasies.

      There is this strange post-modern deep psychobabble game out there that tries to separate the physical from the psychic. We are total packages not the real soul wandering around in some skin sack and it is unreasonable to expect people to see the real soul in the skin sack. (Alan watts via Derrick Jensen in “Endgame”)

      Wow three talking points in one post.

      Gee that’s amazing. You became an adult at 18, well into the internet age and couldn’t find a doctor to give you hormones. I’m from an era where I had to wait until 21 because back in the 1960s one had to be 21 to be considered an adult or have parents sign off on it. I left home in up state New York knowing that I would be disowned. Traveled to SF on a rumor I heard from a pre-transsexual kid I had a chance meeting with in the Village.

      Found several hormone doctors including a clinic that gave them out for free. Saw Dr. Benjamin. Had two reasonable places to get sex change surgery. Worked 2 jobs for sixty hours a week minimum wage, turned tricks and borrowed a bunch of money.

      Yes there is classism. But there are lots of poor lumpen prole people with transsexualism who get SRS and a lot of people much farther up the economic ladder who use the poverty excuse.

      Transsexual people and actual transgender people both need to get away from the Transgender Borg Collective, which is way too overloaded with transvestites, wannabees and people engaged in fantasy role play.

      I’ve come to view the TG Borg Collective as the Tenderloin Ghetto Psychiatric Hospital. A very unhealthy place with some very unhealthy ideology.

  12. Andy Johnathan Says:

    That said, I *do* agree that transsexual people do have needs that are different than say a female assigned at birth gender queer. This is one divide I see and is common in the Northampton, Massachusetts area. There a lot of female assigned at birth gender queers and even trans men who identify outside of the binary. Personally, I think it is great they can be themselves, what I don’t find great is when they appropriate spaces and call their events “trans friendly” but are hostile towards some of the transsexual people. Unless, the ts people still appear somewhat “fluid”, “hip”, or “young”, they are immature and really snotty. I am a ts guy. I am also very working class, blue collar. I like to wear steel toe work boots, rugged jeans, cutoff and flannel shirts, and I drive a truck. I also shop at Wal-Mart. When the college age transgender and/or gender queer folks (many of them attend either Smith or Hampshire) see me, they laugh! They act like over grown elementary students! They will wisper in each other’s ears and actively exclude me in any discussion or activity pertaining to any one who is gender queer/transgender/transsexual.

    Maybe this is more of an issue of class. Maybe I am ignorant myself, but I have *never* met a female assigned at birth gender queer or non-binary trans man who was not either attending an elite college or attended one. If I am wrong please let me know.

    Also, what I have found was many of the faab (female assigned at birth gender queers) and transgender men who are non-binary who are attending an elite college look at the transgender identity as a political movement. That is great if they feel that applies to them, but what I don’t like is when I make my voice heard I get shot down because I am not on the same page as them. The issue on both sides seems to be “we are better than you!”. There is never any middle ground or a diverse “live and let live” attitude.

    Anyway, while the experiences of gender queer and transsexual folks are different, what we need is mutual respect for each other. Also, it is silly to try to compare what a genderqueer person does as affecting a ts person. It would be like thinking that all Chevy Cavaliers have transmission problems because the transmission in some random Chevy Silverado had problems. Yes, they are both from Chevrolet, but are still different.

    One thing I am in agreement with Max is the issue of trans MEN in WOMEN’S spaces. When it comes to non-binary identified folks, it can get complicated, but if a trans man identifies as solely a man, then he really should not be in a women’s space. This issue is alive and well in Northampton, Massachusetts. There are trans men who still attend Smith. Heck at one point the Junior class president was a trans man! On the other hand, trans women can’t attend as a traditional full time student. I don’t really like the belief that hat others do can make others “look bad”, but this is one of the rare times I think that applies.This is how other trans men insisting on being in women’s spaces affects me: Say if I wanted to join a men’s space or event. Say I wanted to join a men’s softball team, or recreational program. This would make sense as I live and identify as a man. The problem is, the men in these organizations would hold the cissexist view that since I was assigned female at birth, and other folks assigned female at birth including trans men seem to have no problem being on a women’s team, then I should join the women’s team or activities. This is already happening. I was even told that “until I have at least top surgery” I could not join the men’s recreational program. I thought that was bs as a. I am too poor to get any surgery b. no one gets naked and c. there are plenty of cis men with bigger tits than me! Seriously, I am barely an A cup. I am also a fat guy with some chest hair. My chest looks more like typical moobs. So would they require the other heavy guys to get chest surgery before joining? No!

    Anyway, that is why I *am* in agreement about any one who identifies and lives their life as a man should not be in women’s spaces.

  13. Andy Johnathan Says:

    I went to *several* different doctors before one would even give me hormones. I also have health problems such as hypertension and many doctors won’t even give you hormones until one lowers their blood pressure. I am in constant fear that I will lose my hormones as I admit I am not in the best of health. There is a lot of fatphobia and ableism in the medical community. If a trans person is disabled or “fat”, many times hormones and surgery will be denied. I actually know people this has happened to. I have also been on the receiving end myself.

    Heck, I have been on hormones for a year and until recently, I *still* could not get anyone to write me a letter. I had to start hormones on the “informed consent” model. Even now after a year on hormones, there are therapists who get “concerned” when I tell them I started by way of “informed consent” and actually try to get my hormones taken away from me! Also, the nearest good therapists are a good 60 mile drive one way and public transportation is non-existent. I spend a good chunk of my unemployment on the gas to go to my therapist and my doctors for my medical transition.

    When I do work, the jobs are usually odd jobs that pay very little. I usually do lawn care and sometimes haulage. I had a job at a car dealership delivering the cars from the auto auction. I was paid very little (minimum wage) and was also never paid on time. I always had to fight for my paycheck. The people there were also incredibly transphobic. Before they even saw my license they were calling me “he” and “sir” after they saw my license some little snit decided to make a photo copy and leave it out to see. After they saw the “F” they called me the wrong pronouns and would make crude jokes. In the state I live in one needs surgery to change their gender marker. I think that is stupid, especially for me, as I have a smaller chest than two of my cis male friends! I could go top less and get away with it! Yes, I would like some chest surgery to take away what I call “the prominence”, but due to my weight it just looks like typical moobs.

    Anyway, I am glad that transition was okay for you. You are very lucky as many encounter a lot of obstacles. Many of us can’t just travel far for the services we need.

    As for myself, I *am* a man and 100% male. If I had the money I would have genital reconstruction surgery. I can’t afford it right now due to being constantly unemployed. There are also many trans people who are on social security so it is next to impossible to save money. Someone who is disabled can’t just “work 60 hours a week”.

    • Suzan Says:

      This is so predictable. the talking points followed by the litany of excuses.

      How does this apply to the right of those who had SRS to actually have the life they worked hard for and were lucky enough to achieve?

      Don’t lay the talking point on me about how we need to support “our community”. Our community might well be one that has nothing to do with transsexualism or transgenderism. There wasn’t a clause in the surgery consent form that I signed obligating me to devote my life to social work within the Transgender Borg Collective.

      My community could just as easily be Earth First or writers, guitar players, photographers, the working class, lesbian or feminist communities, indeed all of the aforementioned feel more like home to me than the Transgender Borg Collective.

      • Suzan Says:

        BTW Andy… In “Being and Nothingness” Jean Paul Sartre pointed out that when one goes out seeking advice they have already determined the advice they will get simply by choosing where and who they go to for advice.

        You have come to a left wing anarchist blog to lay guilt trips on me when I am not attacking you or any other individual but rather questioning the authority, the collective script of the Transgender Borg Collective Cult.

        Everyone of the people in that cult demanding a special exemption for them are part of what has made the idea of “Transgender Rights” such a hard sell, especially “the bathroom issue”.

        Do you really think the people who are 24/7/365 are the problem on this one? Or could it be the men who claim to be women, indeed as much a woman as I am yet who dress and act like men and have never taken hormone or any single step towards becoming women, who are the real problem?

        I’m sorry for your medical issues. But they should not be the ones destroying the rights of so many.

  14. tinagrrl Says:

    “I can’t walk — so there should be no two story or higher buildings, and no stairs — for ANYONE!”.

    “I am blind — so, there is no need for windows – for anyone!”

    “I am deaf — do away with music!”

    The above statements are stupid, insane, and ….. well, you name it. At the same time, they sound like a version of “talking points” from “The Transgender Borg Collective” (trade mark applied for).

    Please think about it folks.

    Don’t post-transsexual men and women have a right to move on?

    Or, do some FtM’s have the right to be men or women as they wish, and some MtF’s the right to be women or men as they see fit?

    O.K. — let’s assume they do. Let’s assume they have that right (though, I think most lesbians, be they gender-queer or not, do NOT think transgender MtF’s have the right to be men or women, or identify as both — interesting, don’t you think?) — how do you think we handle a testosterone based life form in a shelter for battered women?

    Why would a natal female on testo be more suited than a natal male on estrogen?

    How do you handle that? How do you handle a bearded , bald testosterone based FtM in a women;’s shelter?

    What if a woman resident was battered by someone who looks just like the FtM?

    Isn’t some of this stuff just a tad impractical?

    Let’s hear some answers that deal with real issues in the real world.

    As an example — if you don’t have the ability – for any reason – you will not be a professional baseball, football, basketball, player — just won’t happen. If you insist on telling folks you “REALLY” are, eventually they will laugh at you — they will also discount damn near everything else you say.

    At the same time, many (perhaps most) FtM’s and MtF’s do move on. They integrate into society as men and women. Must they be ruled by the needs of that same “Transgender Borg Collective” — I really don’t think so.

  15. Andy Johnathan Says:

    Susan, you are taking what I said out of context. I *don’t* think you should have to “support your “community””. Just be respectful of each other. I have always said those with a transsexual history are as diverse as those who are cissexual. Frankly, the only thing the other trans guys from my support groups and myself have in common is that we have a trans history. This is always why when I say “community” I put it in quotes as the whole idea of some trans community is actually a fallacy. The only thing that many trans people have in common is the fact they live differently than what they were assigned at birth. Heck I have *nothing* in common with the female assigned at birth gender queers who attend Hampshire college. I still respect them as individuals though.

    Also, I don’t think anyone is a “problem”. What bothered me is you seemed to make an assumption that only those who already had some form of medical intervention live 24/7 365 days a year full time. I lived full time as male even before I started hormones. I even legally changed my name before I started hormones. There seems to be an assumption everywhere that pre-op and/or pre-hormone trans people do not live full time and/or have taken legal steps. Heck, I was not waiting to start hormones to be the man that I am! Yes, if I had my way I would have already been on hormones.

    On moving on, I think that any trans person has a right to not identify within the “community”. There are many trans people, including those who are pre-op, who choose to blend in as cis. I think that is great. Being involved with trans issues is not for everybody, and I actually think it is transphobic to expect all trans people to be involved in the “community” based on the fact they happen to have a trans history.

  16. libertywolf Says:

    Andy:
    Andy:
    I want to address one thing you said, and not so much the rest as frankly I am tired of the discussion and I end up repeating myself.

    However, I will say that I feel for you that the genderqueers are laughing or being dismissive of you because of your perceived working classness. I also get this treatment to one degree or another regarding what must be my working classness and clearly masculine attitude — apparently, it appears more traditionally masculine to them. I am an average guy and not a super macho guy, but to these folks, I am apparently a knuckle dragging macho man. Or so I have heard through the grapevine. They crack me up! But, they are dedicated to “transgressing gender boundaries” and so, exuding even a bit of working class masculinity gets you tarred with the brush of being “gender normative”. Frankly, they do not live in the real world but in a fantasy world and once they graduate and get away from Mom and Dad’s credit card, some of that may begin to crumble. You are absolutely RIGHT that most of them, in fact nearly every one I have ever met has had a university education. NOT in the hard sciences, they are not biology majors or physics majors, they are very often Women’s studies majors or Gender Studies or Queer Studies or even Ethnic Studies people. They often, though not always, go to elite schools. There, apparently, they have been educated to what Suzan so rightfully calls the “transgender borg”. The fact that they are contemptuous of you angers me and I feel for you. I think a lot of these people, not all, but many, will be like the “lesbians until graduation” that were political lesbians in the 70’s and 80’s who are now married and for all we know, conservative Christians. Well, maybe not that, but it really was a phase when they went to their elite or not so elite colleges and universities and got involved in the radical politics of the day. Back then, it was lesbianism and separatism, now it is “genderqueer”.

    There are some people yes, who don’t entirely fit in either the male or female box, but the people with the sneering attitudes are generally just posers or people who have some dysphoria and are going the route of trying something out and trying a new attitude out. That is what young people do, I was once young, and I also sneered and tried things out (the memoir records this) and I had fun with it, but gosh I hope I was never so insufferable and dumb. Well, maybe I was sometimes…. geez.

    Yes, there are some older people like this, but generally – this is what I see. There is a political agenda that goes beyond merely wanting to be “both” or feeling like “both” for most of these genderqueer people. I mean, think about this… I bet none of them vote Republican! If this was a genuine gender identity why wouldn’t they? Seriously. The reason I say that, is because being transsexual is NOT a political identity it is genuinely about how you feel about your body and natal sex and — you can be of any political persuasion and get a sex change. Hard to believe these days but true. I am a classic liberal or libertarian-ish, Israel supporter with neoconservative leanings in terms of foreign policy, I am very much a social liberal yes but fiscal conservative… OK, now that everyone is finished picking themselves up off the floor, I hope you can read the rest here and not shut me down! heh —

    Now, Suzan and I are not on the same page politically but we can agree on this one very important issue of the transgender borg (yes it is like a cult) — which is a testimony to how real it is and how it cuts across all otherwise deep divides in political outlook. We are not in a transsexual political cult in other words, we are people who share a medical condition, and who have some common concerns because of that. Genderqueers seem to me to be first and foremost, a political group.

    Any way, best of luck on getting your top surgery. If it is any encouragement it took me six years. I do think though that Suzan, while she is being tough on you, has a reasonable point about how things are actually easier now than they have been in the past. It is a fine line… I knew there were some things I couldn’t do until I got my surgery, that is the way it was. I just waited it out and worked toward getting it. In some respects that is just part of the journey we make. I do respect that you have had discrimination and some health issues; trans activists who are responsible and who are NOT part of the transgender borg so to speak, are trying to make inroads to help doctors and other professionals more aware of who we are and of how to help us responsibly. I know the “transgender borg” even is giving it a shot, but so often they end up making it more difficult. Again, best of luck with your medical journey toward being who you are! But, yes, I can understand why Suzan feels there is some kind of guilt trip happening here toward the point we are making, it happens all the time the” yes, but…”

    Here I ended up writing more than I thought I would have. Well, everyone on here in agreement basically is encouraging ME to be strong and steadfast toward the idea of working for a world where men and women of transsexual history are treated like any other citizen of this country – no special rights, just the same rights to the pursuit of happiness and individual liberty.

    Thanks! And, thanks again to Suzan.

  17. Ash Says:

    Sexism is so big. It’s the biggest beast of them all. Many women are often oppress getting messages that tell them they are less then, that they are voiceless, and LBGT community faces oppress in that they challenge the binary system that favors male privileges.
    I feel voiceless as a Asian American women who are view in society as quiet, submissive . I worry that if I raise my voice, I will be seen as too assertive or too aggressive, so I question my action. Then I feel like I am crazy and apologize for the oppression I face.
    What about my identity as being a transgender women. The guys I dated received different face book post on their face book from women who say “why are you talking to those “girls” on Santa Monica bvld” or “by the way, she’s a man”. It hurts so much that I feel I have to prove my gender, when I know its real. But I got the privilege to pass.
    What about trans women who don’t pass? They can easily become target of outright violence because they don’t fit in the binary structure that favors male privilege.
    We as trans women can often buy into the idea that passing is just part of life because we want to avoid the violence that less passable trans women face. We buy into that that violence to believe its normal and we strive to be femine because that how we can prove our gender is authentic. I faced many hurtful stories that tell me that my gender is not real. These messages are so subtle because I get that from my family and love ones. It causes us to defend our gender authenticity. The violence we fear enforce our belief that its normal for all trans people to always strive to conform. Because that what makes sense to us.
    Why are gendernon- conforming people oppressed? I think it’s the same way trans women who don’t pass get a lot of crap.
    Oppression is so real to those who face it every day. But it becomes invisible to those who pass. That why men will not understand sexism or rich people don’t understand the veil of poverty. The system is cleverly design to silence everyone in their own way. Its sad when transgender people don’t stand up to be allies to gender non-conforming people. The system of male privilege silence us in different and unique ways. Why can’t we see why we’re silenced and be an ally to each other?
    I would have not understand the system if I didn’t try to understand sexism- the system that favors male privilege because I can easily pass and live my life. I want to acknowledge my privileges and deconstruct the beast of sexism.

  18. b.g. Says:

    “Transgender Inc.” is quite the ironic name for a population of people on whom it’s permanent open season and nobody cares.

    HBS types whine about being “oppressed” by TG people the same way white people whine about being “oppressed” by people of color, the same way cisgendered men whine about being “oppressed” by women, the same way heterosexuals whine about being “oppressed” by gays and lesbians.

    • Suzan Says:

      Except this is not an HBS Blog and is indeed anti-HBS/anti-“Classic Transsexual. But it is also anti-Transgender Inc.

      I do not like the anti-transsexual dogma of the Transgender Borg Collective. They follow the teaching of a misogynistic pig, Virginia Prince who held women in contempt and hate transsexuals who got sex changes and actually became women.

      I hate the cult like aspects of the Transgender Borg Collective. Which you comment reflects.

  19. tinagrrl Says:

    Hey, b.g., perhaps you might look at the history of WBT, as formed by Suzan and myself.

    It is interesting that Suzan is reviled not only by SOME members of the “TG Groupthink”, but also by “HBS” and “Classic Transsexual” types.

    Gee, I guess that means she is doing SOMETHING right — don’t you think?

    In case you wondered, WBT supports the rights of ALL Trans folks. It may be a surprise, but you do NOT have to buy into someones ideology to support their right to be full citizens, to have full civil rights, and to be seen as HUMAN.

    Granted, we were laughed at when we REQUESTED (not a demand, merely a request) folks use “Transgender AND Transsexual”. We were ridiculed, told it was impossible, and that WE were, by THEIR definition, members of some “transgender umbrella” that did not exist when many of us came out.

    It was very strange.

    Upon coming up with WBT, we were told WE were “elitist”. We were told our experience was not valid — or, if it was, it was to be dismissed.

    The idea took off. Then some folks took it too far. WBT was not AGAINST anyone — it is FOR ourselves. We will not allow other folks to define us — after all, the very essence of civil rights is self definition.

    Once again, someone cries simply because we wish to be ourselves.

    It’s not about “gender”, it’s about SEX.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: