In the late 1950s and the 1960s there were a couple of heroes, freedom fighters in an age of sexual repression.
One was Hugh Hefner and the other was Helen Gurley Brown who passed away a couple of days ago.
Both wound up being condemned by both the radical left and the radical right who share a common puritanical streak.
I wasn’t particularly into either Playboy magazine or Cosmopolitan although I read both long past the point where they had become hopelessly square and irrelevant.
Playboy magazine started publishing in the early 1950s, the era of Mad Men. It helped teach men who had served during World War II and the Korean War a modicum of manners and sophistication. In comparison to the other men’s magazines of the era it targeted the men who had a college education, a demographic swelled by returning vets, who had gone to school on the GI Bill.
Helen Gurley Brown took over Cosmopolitan some ten years later, targeting the next wave of women, who had swelled the ranks of college students in the 1960s and who were looking for a career after college instead of a Mrs degree. She was writing to the generation liberated by the pill.
People were far more liberated and freer about a lot of things forty years ago.
We weren’t afraid of or own shadow.
Of course in those days Mattachine and other early gay rights groups had to use the word homophile in their little ads that appeared in the Village Voice announcing the time and place of their meetings. They used homophile because it was thought to be less offensive than the word homosexual, which many publications deeded obscene.
Then in the mid-1960s we had the rise of the underground press, a world wide phenomena that introduced an open conversation about sex, along with drugs and the role of pleasure in life.
There are different tribes among those linked with trans-prefixed words. There always have been.
I don’t suspect Cristin Williams is forging documents showing early usages of transgender and variations on the term transgender in an attempt to bolster her version of history.
I came from a different history. My tribe was consistent in their usage of transsexual, and our non-op friends were queens who said they were transsexual too. Maybe they were correct in the same way that today’s “non-op transsexuals” claim the term transsexual. T to M folks get a pass when they claim top surgery is a sex reassigning procedure so I guess it is only fair to grant the same courtesy to my sisters who describe themselves as non-op.
My first awareness of the existence of a different tribe of people described by a different trans-prefixed word was when I came across a book titled A Year Among the Girls, one of those voyeuristic popular 1960s exposés that revealed the dark secret world of heterosexual transvestites.
Unlike the people of my tribe the people of this tribe were decidedly unsexy.
While my tribe tended to live up to the image of sexual free spirits, even a bit boy crazy, those in the world of the heterosexual cross dressers were adamantly in denial with regards to anything of a sexual nature.
Part of that was to avoid the police harassment that fell heavily on queens and pre-op transsexuals in the 1960s and part of it was maintaining a veneer of heterosexuality. There was an absolute horror regarding any possible turn on from wearing certain clothes, even when assigned female at birth women described those clothes as making them feel sexy.
One of the very important publications Cristin seems to ignore is Tapestry.
Tapestry played a big role in pushing transgender to its position as the preferred term. Tapestry grew out of what I considered the other tribe, the unsexy one.
I’ve always found the idea that transgender was more socially acceptable because it didn’t have the root word sex in it to be a tad dubious. I’ve never understood the search for different terms to describe sex reassignment surgery or even an insistence that people stop calling it a sex change operation.
It sort of like saying call it breast augmentation surgery not a boob job.
It’s the same thing only one is attempting to make the procedure seem upper middle class instead of something done by a woman who works as a pole dancer or a waitress at Twin Peaks.
I have a hard time imagining anything more sterile and lacking in feeling than the term gender confirmation surgery. It sounds like a piece of art one purchased and has on display in a glass case whereas sex change operation has the feel of creating an ability to joyfully fuck in a body one feels comfortable in.
Making everything about gender is very cerebral, which is appropriate because gender is kind of intellectualizing the whole matter. Transsexual is more about one’s body, hence our using the phrase “trapped in the wrong body.”
This puritanical streak isn’t the exclusive property of transgender folks.
Last night I ran a teaser for a piece on RH Reality Check about the pro-choice movement using all these these other reasons for women using oral contraceptives while avoiding talking about the main purpose.
Why are people caving into slut shaming and the anti-sex crap being pushed by the Christo-Fascists, radfems and Radical Right?
Last time I looked around having sex for fun was highly rated by most people.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that the producing of children is probably the motivation for having sex in a tiny minority of the occurrences of people having sex.
So why aren’t we embracing sex as one of those pleasurable things that people do?
Why the cop out/
And if is valid for Andrew Jenkins to write Putting the Sex Back in Birth Control: Why the Dominant Narrative on Contraception Undermines Young People then why isn’t it valid to use transsexual and changing sex for people who change their secondary and often times their primary sex characteristics by taking hormones and having various surgeries?
Why are we supposed to pretend it is all about some cerebral matter like gender than an earthy life affirming thing like sex?
And if it is about both as I suspect it might be why do we treat one as good and proper while treating the other as something we should hide and be ashamed of?