Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Blurry

Is it just me, or are things getting really blurry out there? I'm not talking about the weather. Or the picture on your new HDTV (if you didn't set it up properly). I'm talking about labels. What we call ourselves. And what others call us.

I seem to be getting a lot of questions on this topic lately. And maybe you've been asking some of these same questions yourself: "Now that I'm dressing - or now that I've admitted that I'm attracted to dressers - what does that say about me? Am I gay? Am I bi?" "If I'm a guy and I'm attracted to other guys (but the other guy is dressed as a girl), does that make me gay?"

One person told me that he's "straight, with a twist." But to me, that sounds more like the proper way to serve tequila.

My gut reaction to these label questions is always the same: "What difference does it make?" But, obviously, it makes a big difference, otherwise so many people wouldn't be asking. Labels matter in our society. Our society has just gotten too darn big for most of us to deal with, so we need short cuts, sound bites… simplified categories to help us make sense of the world. And that's where labels come in.

Interestingly enough, I've never gotten one of these questions from a GG (genetic girl). No GG has ever asked me if liking a guy who's dressed as a girl makes her a lesbian. In complete contrast to their shopping behavior, GG's don't seem to be all that interested in specific labels. But to the guys - and in this category, I'm including guys who dress as guys and guys who dress as girls - labels seem to be incredibly important.

Now a lot of this is just good old-fashioned American homophobia. No matter how evolved some people are, no matter how much they've overcome personally to allow themselves to become a T-Girl (or to date one), many still can't shake old stereotypes and the bad feelings associated with them. I mean, think about it. It's a pretty weird state of affairs when a man will freely admit that he enjoys sucking cock - but can't stomach the thought of being called gay.

Of course, a lot of this is just T-Girls trying to make sense of the changes they're going through. Most of us have been battling confused feelings all of our lives, so is it any wonder that we get kind of obsessed about trying to make sense of it all? (BTW… I hear some T-Girls call themselves lesbians. And that's cool. Except that I have no idea what it means. I'm not sure if it means that they like other girls or that they like other T-Girls. I've heard it used both ways.)

And it's not just here in the gender wars that labels are starting to blur. When asked about his ethnicity, golf champion Tiger Woods refers to himself as "Cablinasian" - based on the fact that he's Caucasian, Black, American-Indian, and Asian. So maybe we T-Girls are all Transbistraybian (transgendered, bi, straight, gay, and lesbian). Or better yet, maybe we're just strays. (That's straight and gay.)

I consider myself "confused." (That's conflicted and kind of amused.)

Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi had a great line. He once said, "My ethnicity was my choice. It still is." And I like that approach. When it comes to our identity - we get to choose. If you've been following the presidential primaries, you'll notice journalists use the word, "self-identify," a lot. When they refer to a certain demographic, they'll often say, "...according to men and women who self-identify as Hispanic..." Or "...self-identify as Causcasian." It's a great word. Self-identify.

All I know is that if Mr. Mizrahi can choose his own ethnicity, then I can choose my own gender role. And so can you. So if you want to be gay, be gay. If you're more comfortable identifying yourself as straight, go ahead. And if you prefer bi, then bi it is. Call yourself whatever you like. Just be sure to respect the labels others select for themselves.

Oh...and here's one last bit of unsolicited advice. If the lines between gender roles in T-world really are so hopelessly blurred so as to be rendered essentially meaningless, then maybe its time we started asking new questions.

Maybe instead of trying to figure out what you are, your time, energy and introspection would be put to better use in trying to figure out just who you are.

(And you thought that first question was hard.)

Take care out there.
Be safe. Be smart. Be sexy!
xoxo,
CiCi

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have posted this comment elsewhere.

I have been a cd for about 15 years, however I still do not know how to pick out clothes that will fit me, whether in the store or online. I love alot of the clothes in the fashion show as well on the suddenly fem website. I am looking for fellow cd's that can show me how to properly apply make-up, pick out clothes and maybe even have fun. Anybody from the 50501 area code or within 50 miles. E-mail me at Rachel4u6981@yahoo.com. Just ask and I will e-mail back some photos.

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