Is Being Trans Like Being an Immigrant?

From The New York Times:

Both involve a journey. And both are under assault by this administration.

By Jennifer Finney Boylan
April 3, 2019

Last week, a 9-year-old American citizen, Julia Isabel Amparo Medina, was detained at the Mexican border for 30 hours. Although she had made the trip every school day from her home in Tijuana, Mexico, to school in California, authorities claimed they could not identify her.

Back in January, two British women angrily accosted the human rights activist Sarah McBride after a conference that had brought together members of Congress and the parents of transgender youth. The women, members of a group that denies the humanity of transgender people, referred to Ms. McBride with male pronouns and accused her of championing rape and the erasure of lesbians.

On the surface, it might seem as if the detention of Julia and the cruelty of transphobes is unrelated. But both hatreds, in fact, rise from the same dark spring.

“People who have transitioned,” those anti-trans activists seemed to suggest, “aren’t sending their best. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Actually, unless I missed something, they didn’t say a word about people like Sarah McBride and me being good people. Mostly they implied, as the president once said of undocumented immigrants, that we’re not people. That we’re animals.

Comparing the trans experience to those of other marginalized groups is awkward, and not least because gender and race and poverty have different, if entwined histories. We conflate them at our peril.

Still, the narrative of migration can provide a helpful metaphor for the lives of some trans folks. This isn’t true for all of us, to be sure. But for someone who transitioned midlife, like me, it works pretty well.

I’m 60 years old now. I was 40 when I set out on the dangerous crossing that led from the place where I was born to these green fields of womanhood.

From my earliest memory, the old country — so to speak — felt like a foreign place; for me it was, at least at times, a place of hunger. I knew that if I stayed in the country where I was born — dear old BoyLand — I would never survive. And so I set out for this new land, the place I’d been dreaming of, one way or another, since I was 6 years old. In 2000, when I came out, I finally got my green card.

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3 Responses to “Is Being Trans Like Being an Immigrant?”

  1. Cai Copley Says:

    I really don’t think it’s right co-opting one’s experience that you have never experienced to try and describe yourself. I’m migration and transition may share elements, but not compatible.

    • Suzan Says:

      Fuck the post-modern bullshit. “Co-opting” Have you ever heard of a metaphor? Comparing life experiences is at the heart of empathy. I know SJWs want everyone to think that there is no such thing as the individual and that we are all defined by our identities and membership in identity defined tribes.

      I’m busy and really don’t need the pain in the ass caused by trying to communicate with SJWs. Go read Huxley’s “Brave New World” It used to be a mandatory on High School reading lists.

      • Andrea B Says:

        In the last two years I have re-read

        Brave New World
        Brave New World Revisited
        Demon Haunted World
        Lord of the Flies
        Animal Farm

        Instead of those books being a well presented warning, it is almost as though someone is using them as a manual.

        As for SJW’s. Most of them are unhinged bigots as far as I can tell.

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