Not Your Standard Transsexual/Transgender Narrative

It seems like every single time I hear that one I should take it as a warning that I am about to hear what has become the predominant internet standard narrative of TS/TG people, particularly those who came out in middle age.

You know the one about how they would have come out in 1970 but…  There was no information… There were no doctors…  The doctors required everyone to be a fembot… Etc…

The standard narrative has become one of how impossible things were in the past.

The standard narrative has become one of how one doesn’t conform to some sort of artificial stereotype.

Often the standard narrative includes a heterosexual past and homosexual present.

Often times the standard narrative includes sex stereotyped career and marriage with children.

The standard narrative often includes military service.

The standard narrative includes lots of internal struggle and help from a caring gender counselor professional to overcome one’s fears.

The standard narrative rarely includes prostitution although it may include forms of sex work that supposedly don’t actually involve genital sex.

When I first came on line and heard the new standard narrative I went WTF?

How can these people be my sisters?

Because nothing about my narrative fit with their standard narrative.

As a child I felt trapped in the wrong body.  I knew when I was four or five and learned to be ashamed.

I had the closet door ripped open in 1960 when I was thirteen. But I had found out about transsexuals three years earlier.

By the time I was fifteen, in 1962, I had April Ashley as a role model and knew at least one way to go about getting a sex change operation.

In the spring of 1966, when I was a college freshman I discovered John Rechy’s City of Night, it was like a gay version of On the Road and became a guidebook.

So I had plenty of information about making my way in the world as a transsexual even before the Compton’s Cafeteria riots the summer of 1966.

Oh… Did I mention I was attracted to men.  I know it isn’t part of the new standard narrative, but there were certain boys who made my heart go pitta-pat.  I was attracted to certain women too but that was too much for me to deal with and raised too many internal conflicts.

I was a hippie and my friends were supportive when I came out to them.

I looked like a hippie chick, not some straight suburban white picket fence type.  I was one of those hippie radicals, yet I never met any real resistance from any of the medical people I encountered.  I just told the truth about myself including about thinking I might be bisexual.

While I couldn’t have gotten help in the small town I was born in, American youth were on the road in search of adventure in 1967 and we fell into places where it was hard for transkids to avoid meeting others like ourselves.

Now the folks who have their narratives more similar to the first narrative than to my narrative accuse people who have the second narrative of making it up in order to get SRS.

Too many of us whose lives more match the second narrative can’t accept the authenticity of the first narrative.

This is sort of a matter of being blinded by your own narrative and thinking your narrative is the only authentic one.

I was too at first.  I had a hard time understanding why someone who lived around the corner from me in the Haight Ashbury couldn’t have transitioned at the same young age I did.

Then I started looking at all the things we had in common and I saw that a few different decisions, certain things that happened to me and not to her.

I exercised some empathy and found myself thinking, “There but for fortune.”

Many of us are very nerdy, bookworms and afraid.

Admitting I could have just as easily wound up taking  her path and coming out in middle age was a revelation.

In reality there are a couple of major trans-narratives, at least for TS/TG folks (but maybe not for TV/CD/DQ folks) and a bunch of variations on those themes.

Having a different narrative from your narrative doesn’t mean the other person somehow created a fictitious narrative unless it is just too fantastical to be believable.

Lots of us are heterosexual after SRS, others are lesbian/gay after SRS and some of us are bisexual before during and after transition and surgery.

3 Responses to “Not Your Standard Transsexual/Transgender Narrative”

  1. pasupatidasi Says:

    thinking there are a lot more diverse narratives than even the first ‘standard’ one, or the second.

    my daughter will certainly have a narrative that is shared by others of her generation.

    that being, knowing from early on (3-5 years of age), with parents that allowed them to live as the gender with which they identify, fought for their rights to appropriate therapy at every stage, (puberty blockers, cross hormones, early surgery), helped them change their birth certificates name and gender marker and whatever else.

    what isn’t clear is whether they will be anymore accepted as women by the womyn’s (radical feminists) community or as men by the men’s community.

    i dwell in hope

    • Suzan Says:

      Wanting to be accepted by the Womyn’s (Radical feminist) community is like wanting to be accepted by some sort of bizarre fanatical religious cult.

      Radical Feminism has nothing to do with the vast majority of women and is like the Stalinist faction of the left, irrelevant and immaterial.

      Feminism is for all women, not just a tiny minority of fanatics with the “proper political analysis” based on the writings of Valerie Solanis.

      If one has to be a radical feminist in order to be a real feminist then I’m one of those women who finds herself saying, “I am not a feminist, but…”

      I was out from birth because I was really obvious and I was abused for it but I also read the works of some deeply humanist thinkers, listened to the music of Pete Seeger and John Lennon.

      I listen to some one like Desmond Tutu and realize we have the power to make the world kinder for those who are different.

      • pasupatidasi Says:

        so believe i! and while in the radical dyke community, as a bisexual woman, i know first hand the exclusion to which this ‘cult’ adheres,
        my belief is that cis people like myself, are who we are by accident of birth and therefore cannot claim any privilege.
        whereas those like my daughter, who were robbed at birth, by the defect of a body contrary to their nature, have perhaps more claim to the title of woman for having to endure so much to make it true…not in their own eyes, for my daughter has always seen herself as truly a girl…but in the eyes of society.


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