Way back in 1962 when I first tentatively came out to my parents I had a hero, April Ashley, who had her biography serialized in one of the tabloid newspapers.
When I started hormones in 1969 and started living as a woman I was the only person with transsexualism that I knew. My role models were AFAB women, mostly hippie/left wing women. I came out in what is the bohemian culture. Not the gay and lesbian culture and not the Casa Susanna/Tri-Ess pre-transgender communities.
I don’t think of myself as transgender. I abhor the pushing of gender, gender, gender as I find this gender thing to be little more than the repurposing/repackaging/recycling of oppressive sex roles. The sort of stuff one of my real heroes, Simone de Beauvoir wrote about in The Second Sex.
Since I am a believer in self examining of life and rejection of cliched thinking, which is often mindless acceptance of sloganeering rather than actual thought, I have found myself forced to ask if I should call myself or consider myself transsexual any more. Seriously… It has been over 50 years since I first came out, nearly 50 years since I started the process of changing sex.
It worked and cured me. Since sex reassignment surgery I lost all desire for changing my sex. I wish I could say I felt perfectly comfortable with my body, but with the exception of a few years when I was harshly training in the martial arts I have always felt weak or flabby or fat. I had a bout with anorexia for about a year or two before coming out as a dyke.
I love the word dyke. I realize it has become a forbidden word in the new world order of gender, gender, gender. I use to have a t-shirt I absolutely loved. It said “Warm Fuzzy Dyke” in about 120pt Comic Sans.
During the second half of the 1970s I learned to hold fashion and sex roles in utter contempt. I still had a subscription for Vogue and could not only name the various photographers from style but could probably tell you what cameras they shot and the film likely used to produce the images. In those days I wore the Nikon necklaces along with my t-shirts, jeans, leather jacket and running shoes.
I didn’t get SRS because of the clothes. I was a bohemian hippie with hair down my back, beads and any clothes I felt like wearing. What they call transition today was about changing physical sex and being a hippie woman/girl instead of a hippie man/boy. It wasn’t even about who I had sex with because in the days of free love I had sex with people not genitals.
What I am trying to say is I just don’t get the incredible ideological word salad of today’s “Transgender Community.”
I met others after the first few months on hormones and living out my trial period. It seemed like there were two groups of folks on hormones, transsexuals who would get SRS and queens who wouldn’t. Lots of folks said they wanted SRS but never put in the effort to actually get it. In the mid-1970s heading into the 1980s people started using the term “transgender” for those folks.
Towards the late 1980s Tapestry Magazine and the IFGE started pushing “Transgender” as a collective descriptor.
I’ve been on line since the mid-1990s, an inconvenient surviving pioneer of the early days, one who still remembers things.
One of the things I remember is how there have been so many media messiahs, who were going to validate and legitimatize the trans-communities. I also remember how after a few years they were either discarded or said something deemed politically incorrect and wound up publicly vilified.
Faces come and go Riki Wilchins was popular in the 1990s and is today treated as an out of touch dinosaur.
Mara Keisling is a legitimate long time activist, not an attention grabbing media whore, and yet she has slid from the public face of trans-activism.
There are a hell of a lot of sisters and brothers out there fighting the good fight, doing activism in a way I gave up on many years ago. Some of them are freaking heroes for their commitment and spokespeople by their shear ability to articulate the problems and issues in a way that the mainstream can understand.
Me? I’m just an old hippie dyke. More articulate about lots of other issues than I am about those of a community I no longer consider myself part of.
I am bothered by the hailing of Jenner as some sort of Messiah. There has never been any sort of actual test as to whether or not someone is actually transsexual other than maybe Cybele’s Knife and getting actual SRS. Any sort of test for transgender is even sketchier.
It’s all perception and judgement. Way back when we used to say that someone, “smelled right.” That meant we perceived them as knowledgeable and sane, aware of what they were actually getting themselves into.
Dr. Benjamen’s real life test was another way of separating out sincere people from those looking for a thrill or wanting to live out a fantasy.
I get lost in the word salad of transspeak but there is definitely something that seems off about Jenner. I’ve watched the last few years as people were burned by the frantic media whoring of Ashley Love, Parker Molloy, Zoey Tur and others who were rapidly rising stars who suddenly turned into spewing internet trolls.
Maybe it’s Jenner’s pronoun choice. Maybe the admission of the embrace of a political faction that is actively waging war against TS/TG folks.
All of a sudden people of the political faction Jenner claims to be a part of are trying to pass laws making it a crime for trans-folks to use gender appropriate restroom. There is even a proposition by the political faction he claims to be a part of, that advocates for the murder of LGBT people.
Who is to say what Jenner is really up to? I could see him as poster boy for the anti-TS/TG political right wing. Either overtly or inadvertently.
I know people keep bringing up the Olympic athlete schtick, but that was nearly 40 years ago. Lately he is famous for being a media whore on a reality show with the Kardashians., hardly a credibility endowing profession.
You want a spokes person for the trans-community pick one of our MDs, one of our tenured Ph.D. Professors, one of our many lawyers. Pick Lynn Conway or Andrea James there are thousands, literally thousands of far better candidates than Jenner.