|You can talk all the shit about me you want.|
But if you come after my friends, I’m sorry. I just can’t let that go.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Talking Back to the Backlash - A Blog for Suddenly Fem by CiCi Kytten
It was inevitable. After all of the great strides the trans community has made over the past few years, you knew there had to be backlash. You knew we were going piss someone off. And actually, the louder we get, the louder the haters will get.
I try to ignore them. And usually I can. But it hurts. So much of it is so ignorant and uninformed. And some of it is just pure hate. But the part that gets me is that so much of it is so stridently and aggressively non-curious. I’ve found transpeople to be some of the most fascinating people I know. I can’t understand why the rest of the world doesn’t want to get to know us. They’d rather dismiss us or deny our rights or deny our very right to exist.
A lot of this is our fault. We’ve been hiding in shame for so long. But that shame is fading. We’re getting stronger... as individuals and as a community. So this is not the time to let a few mean-spirited misinformed loudmouths set us back.
Besides, you can talk all the shit about me you want, but if you start to come after my friends, I’m sorry. I just can’t let that go.
I’m no sociologist, or gender therapist, or medical practitioner, or scientist. But then neither are the bloggers and columnists spreading the hate. They’re just writers like me. So I figure my opinion is as valid as theirs.
Here’s what they’re saying:
“You’re not women. Stop saying you are.”
My response: This is pretty typical. And btw... not everyone under the trans umbrella claims to be a woman. But there are those who say they have felt female since the day they were born. And who are we to argue with how someone else feels? These women express feelings of surprise and shock that when, as toddlers, they acted like girls, and were reprimanded by the adults in their lives. They were doing what felt natural. Why is that so threatening? Gender is different than biological or anatomical sex classifications. And we’re learning more about this changing field of science every day. So until we know more. Let’s give these women the benefit of the doubt. I have a feeling that as we learn more about genetics, chromosomes, and the whole mind/body health connection, we’re going to find that these women were right all along.
Then they say, “You’re delusional.”
My response: Perhaps we are. Perhaps every trans person -- from the closeted panty boy to the out and about transwoman -- is totally delusional. But if so, then it’s a pretty amazing case of mass delusion. I mean, there are so many similarities between the way we act and feel and present. These similarities date back over centuries, cross over many cultures, and obviously predate the internet. So how did we all get together and delude ourselves en masse? How did that happen?
We’re not delusional. Some of us are closeted, some are out. Some are kinky, some are not. Some are fully femme and some are rather andro. But there’s something inside us... something that we are... that guides our feelings and behavior. And it ain’t a delusion.
The haters are very opposed to health benefits: “If you need medical attention then there’s something wrong with you. Which just proves that this expression is unnatural and we don’t want to pay for it.”
My response: First of all, there’s all sorts of things we have to pay for in America that we don’t support. That’s life in a democracy. We all support all kinds of surgeries and procedures that help all sorts of people from all walks of life to live more comfortably and, hopefully, a little more pain free. That’s something we as a society have decided to do. Just because a transperson needs medical attention doesn’t mean she’s damaged or trying to change nature. She is merely doing what millions of Americans have been doing for years -- trying to live more closely to her truest self. That’s not unnatural. OMFG... that’s the American dream.
A medical condition is not necessarily a malady or a deformity. A “condition” is exactly that. A state of being. And, in today’s world, thanks to medical technology, we all have the opportunity to change our “conditions.” There are many who, politically, don’t wish to pay for others’ healthcare. And that is an acceptable political point of view. But don’t single out transpeople. We’re not your scapegoat.
In response to new laws now being introduced, many go for the fear factor. “If these laws are passed, any boy who declares himself “trans,” will be given access to your little girls’ restrooms and locker rooms.”
My response: Technically, that argument might be true. But I think a boy would have to be willing to go through an awful lot just to get into a girls’ bathroom or locker room. It hasn’t been easy for actual trans youth to gain that kind of access, so I doubt many “straight” kids would go to the trouble.
But here’s another completely overlooked point. If we’re so concerned about how this change will effect bathroom behavior, then why not just change the bathrooms? I mean really, what kid -- trans or not -- ever felt comfortable in a junior high school bathroom? Those rooms -- girls’ and boys’ -- were the bullies’ home turf. Bullies and thugs used to skip class and hang out in there. Everyone hated the bathrooms. And you didn’t have to be trans or gay to get bullied... all you had to be was small or weak or sensitive or disabled or smart or just in the wrong place at the wrong time. What junior high school kid would argue against changing bathrooms? Add more single stall rooms. In the larger bathrooms, add more stalls that are actual rooms -- with four walls and a door. Create a place that a kid (or an adult) could use in private, and actually feel safe and comfortable. How would that not be a good thing?
It’s long overdue. In fact, if we brought change to restrooms and civility to locker rooms... years from now, junior high school kids would be thanking the trans community. We’d be lauded for making the average kid’s school life a lot less stressful.
And one more thing on that. Why do the haters always put parents in the position of having the little girl. What about the parents of the little boy who’s trans? What if the kid in question was yours? To what lengths would you go to protect your child’s right to comfort and privacy at school? Why don’t the haters every consider that possibility?
Lastly, the haters love to use the wrong pronouns.
My response. You’re a dick. Seriously. Is that all you’ve got? Is that the sum of your intelligence? Your last desperate way to make someone proud and confident and happy feel a little less so? Congratulations. You’re so f’n clever.
In our community, it is common to simply address a person according to their presentation. It’s just that easy. This misnaming reminds me of my father -- now long since passed away. He hated it when his kids used slang language. It wasn’t proper English. And for a while, I thought he was right. But then as I got older, I noticed that he used all kinds of slang himself! Slang that he had acquired during his college days or his soldier days during World War II. That slang was, to him, acceptable.
It was so hypocritical. He didn’t care about “proper English,” all he cared about -- all most people care about -- is preserving the status quo. They use arguments about language or anatomy or politics or economics to mask it. But what they’re doing is acting out of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of a lifestyle that makes them uncomfortable. Fear of a brave new world that threatens one of the most fundamental binaries of all time: male and female.
It’s so odd to me that I now represent that challenge to society. I have lived my life almost entirely in the mainstream. I actually grew up on Main Street in a Norman Rockwell small town in New England. I’m practically a Puritan. For most of my life, nothing made me feel more comfortable, secure and loved than obeying my parents and the mores of society.
Here I am. Gender rebel. Social activist. Sexual adventurer. How did this happen?
I’m not really sure. But I do know this. Whatever I am is what I’ve always been. Maybe my expression has changed over the years -- but so has every other human being who’s every lived to maturity. I probably won’t live long enough to see medical science, cultural sociology or gender studies figure out what to call me or how to classify me. Or how to silence the haters.
But in the meantime, I have every right -- legal, societal and otherwise -- to act and dress and behave as I see fit.
And so do you.
Take care out there.
Be safe. Be smart. Be sexy.
Posted by CiCi Kytten at 5:18 PM