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My Ignorant Blog Post About Trans Issues (MIBPATI) #6 of 6
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mudcub

 

I think trans people are invisible. No... that's not the right word. I'm
sure most trans people are working hard politically and are trying to be
quiet and unobtrusive. And it's not a comment on "passing". It's just
that while gay people complain that there aren't enough gay characters
on TV, trans people have a legitimate beef that there have have NONE.

I wanted to blog about trans issues today because few people in the gay
community talk about it. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was a couple
weeks ago on November 20.  I guess it was also a Day of Silence, because
all the websites I regularly read were completely silent about the
commemoration. Gay.com? Recon? 365Gay.com? Bear411? The only
place I saw mention of the day was on LiveJournal, and then only from
people who were trans.

Apology: I personally didn't post anything about it on my blog on November
20. Except for a photo of a dildo going into a man's hairy butt. Now I
feel guilty.

Why was the day important? Lately, gay people aren't getting killed as
much as transgender people. There are still gay bashings, most notably
last month outside of a gay-oriented gym in Salt Lake City:

http://www.towleroad.com/2008/12/police-salt-lak.html

But to get *really* killed in the US, it's dangerous to be a transwoman,
particularly if you try and pass. Gwen Araujo, Sakia Gunn, Brandon Teena.
Or local to me, I remember reading about Freddie Martinez in Colorado and
Alina Barragan in San Jose. Recently, Duanna Johnson. But these names
aren't really familiar to me as Matthew Shepherd.

Us gay guys sometimes like to portray ourselves as martyrs. We haul out
statistics of anti-gay violence. But per-capita, I think transgender
people are doing all the heavy lifting. We count their deaths as
"one of us" when in suits our agenda and inflates our numbers and
helps us to feel like victims. But the rest of the time, we ignore transpeople.

I think a lot of gay men resent the fact that we have to include transfolk
in our groups. They would be a lot happier if there was no "T" in LGBT.
Or a "B", for that matter. Bisexual and transgender people are
embarrassing, particularly new transwomen who aren't very good at
applying makeup or dressing "appropriately". I don't feel this way of
course... my motives are pure and clean, and I am perfect ally of the
trans community.

Ok, I'm lying. Sometimes I still get worried I'll say the wrong thing, or
find myself staring. But I want to try and explain why gay people might
dislike trans people: you remind us who we are. Many gay guys have
worked very hard to reclaim our masculinity.
We may suck dick, but we're MEN. Manly men... and those of us who are
attracted to leather and hypermasculinity often have to defend ourselves
by explaining loudly that we are men, we like being men, we don't want to
be women, we never wear dresses or makeup.

Then a transwoman enters the room, we wonder if we're like THAT.

It's stupid. It comes from weakness and fear. Pure self-loathing. It's
much easier just to avoid the issues altogether and ignore the topic
completely. Which might explain my first point that transgender people are
often invisible.


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I'm at a bit of a loss as to understanding how this is ignorant. "Ignorance", as far as I understand it, is not only lack of knowledge, but lack of desire to PROCURE said knowledge.

You're at least showing a genuine desire to understand, and a caution against insult. It's more than I can say for some people who treat transgendered folk as circus freaks who'll do a trick at any given moment.

Thanks for your comment. I'll do a trick at any given moment... if he or she is cute!

Edited at 2009-01-20 09:05 pm (UTC)

They seek to fit within societies expected gender roles

Trans people are a little different that gay, lesbians and bisexuals.

Once they go through their transition, their new lives begin and they try to be as invisible as possible in regards to their gender reassignment. They are definitely not invisible in their professions, family lives and in anything they do... but their gender reassignment.

In our cases of hypermasulinity... don't you get that people get more surprised and at times that they don't even believe you when they find out that you are gay? They get confused why if we are so masculine, why we would like men? If we are men are we supposed to just like women? No... variety is the secret in life.

I agree with much of ur thoughts... just to add that many trans folks don't identify with a "trans" community - and that while they may need support at a point, some - not all - wish to return to life and in fact "pass" and not deal with sexual minority issues - or even see themselves as such.

Just my own experience... the lack of desire on the part of some to cultivate a community.

I guess that's true in any group, but seems much more exacerbated in the trans community. Truly - living up to the word "trans" - transitory, changing, moving foward.

That said i completely acknowledge some trans folks DO want to be around other trans folks, some even wanting to date other trans people.

Some agreement and disagreement here, but here's my skinny:

I will say transfolks are occasionally around in media. (We're usually the sex worker or drug addict who gets killed.)

Right on re: TDoR. I came very close to being one of those statistics myself.

Maybe someday I can be a corpse on CSI {sad wry grin}.

I loved Suzanne Westhoefer's joke that lesbians are so desperate to see themselves on tv that they'll watch ANYTHING. She says a friend called her on the phone, "Yeah! You gotta watch the new show! It has a really caring relationship between two women. Ok... they're VAMPIRES, but if you ignore that..."

Edited at 2009-01-20 09:19 pm (UTC)

This was a very interesting and enlightening series of posts.
Thanks for bringin' it up.

The wide variety of sexuality does not have to be problematic. It's just another difference we need to embrace. It is a shame that pronouns seem to be a point of contention, but as several posters noted, there are good ways to handle that.

I just read all 6 posts. a lot of food for thought and I might even manage to express some of those thoughts-- there's a lot of them for each post.

Some questions, though...

have you learned anything in the writing or commenting?

it appears that most of the comments were from transguys. do your other posts usually garner comments from cis-gendered guys or women?

I started blogging when I was stuck in a bad job and unhappy relationship. So, I added all my bear friends (i.e. Denver-based, cisgendered gay men). Then, I add all *their* friends, and then anyone who made an intersting comment. Presto! Thousands of LJ "friends".

I was hoping to get more comments from cisgendered people. I wonder if I 1) made the posts too wordy without pictures, 2) "sucked all the air out of room" by overthinking and didn't leave space for other people to comment, 3) cisgendered people are afraid to say something wrong so we just stay quiet, or 4) non-trans people really don't care, because the issues don't directly affect them.

The comment that touched me the most was the transgender man who said that even *he* is often tired of talking about transgender issues. He thought, he wrestled, he transitioned, now he's going on with his life. There are sooo many more interesting things about that man in his life right now. Somehow, I had forgotten that a little bit.

I mean, I know he's more than the sum of his surgeries, but it never occurred to me that he would be sick of talking about his history. God knows I can talk about gay issues for hours! But this time, I wanted to express some "beginner thoughts" to some people that have thought about these issues a lot more than I have.

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