Archive for the ‘trans women’ Category
Edit: The kickstarter made the $15,000 goal. Congratulations, Tobi. :)
Also, Tobi posted in the comments:
Also, folks who might be interested in being a part of this there is an open casting call at http://goo.gl/Haxiq.
Tobi has a kickstarter up which has already raised $11,605 – it’s Doing it Again: Trans women’s relationship and hookup dynamics discussed and displayed in an explicit erotic documentary.
It ends on August 8th, so this is the last day to contribute. I wanted to post this sooner, but a combination of putting up appeals for Judas and Ada and me just plain forgetting about it (like I forget far too many things) meant not posting it until the last minute.
However, I really hope this reaches the $15,000 mark, for the third volume focusing on genderqueer and non-binary folks. Watch the video on the site for a longer explaination.
I hesitate to jump into these shark-infested waters, but here goes.
I certainly have my own opinion on the “transsexual” vs. “transgender” debate that has ignited many a flame war on the internet over the last few months between those who want to separate our community based on those who have had or, at least, want to have, SRS, from everyone else, but I’m not going to express that here. Instead, I’m going to take a position that I’ve never seen expressed by anyone else, although some have come close. My position comes from my background as an attorney and my understanding of how anti-discrimination laws are written and are intended to operate.
Here’s what I know to be true: the dispute about who is transsexual and who isn’t is irrelevant to the fight for protections for transsexual, transgender, genderqueer and every other gender variant or gender nonconforming person in this country. Why? Because of how anti-discrimination laws are written for both practical and constitutional reasons.
*Crossposted from My Blog.*
Lately I’ve been re-evaluating my concepts of “trans identity.”
I just read a post on the excellent blog Critique Of Popular Reason, about the use of trans and cis as adjectives rather than prefixes, which has sort of guilted me into cleaning up my use of the terms and being more meaningful in what I intend to convey when I use them.
I admit I’ve been haphazard in writing trans woman, transwoman, cis man, cis-man and so on. I’ve always realized in the back of my mind that each way of writing trans or cis represents a slightly different understanding of the terms, but I didn’t think it a big deal. Well, I do now, so the inconsistency stops today.
Here is what I’ve come to realize: As much as I talk about myself being a trans woman, I don’t honestly think of my being trans as an “identity”… so much as a description of my personal history.
I do not experience being trans in the same way I experience being black, for instance. For me, being black is very much an identity experience based on shared cultural experiences, shared language, and shared history having been born and raised in the United States among other black people. I am black not just because I am readable as black, not just because I was “assigned” to be black by larger society based upon my readability as black, and not just because that is how I am expected to identify my race on government documents and other demographic tracking forms. I am also black because my mama is black, because my family is black, because I am descended from the African Diaspora, and largely, perhaps ultimately, because I was “raised” black and because I am recognizable to other black people as black.
I do not feel quite the same way about being trans. For me, at least for right now, I am trans only because I was born into a society based on a truly shitty premise: that one’s reproductive organs predict and define the way in which you will experience yourself, that your genitals predict and define who and what you are, who and what you must grow up to be. I am trans because I was born into society that refuses to acknowledge the obvious fact that for many many people there is no direct correlation between their reproductive organs and the gendered bodies and the identities in which they find their most valid form of self expression.
To put it more simply… Society does not allow for being born with a penis and NOT feeling like that has anything to do with anything… other than having been born with a penis. That existing with a penis between your legs does not MAKE you feel like, think like, act like or identify as male… even when that same society makes every effort to force you to do exactly that,with its armada of rewards and punishments. (Of course the same is true of being born with a vagina and not feeling that necessarily connected to one’s being a woman).
Following this frame of reference, If I am to accept being trans as my identity then I must accept an identity which is based upon society imposing upon me its definition of me, externally, an identity with seemingly no other defining criteria than this particular experience of imposition. For me, an identity has to be based on much more than being in the same crappy boat as a lot of other people. I could define being black that way if I wanted… but I do not experience being black that way. For me, being black is a much fuller and more complex experience than a mere description of my racial phenotype and cultural history. I feel the same way about being a woman, as well. There is actually much more to my being a woman than other people’s perception of me and treatment of me as a woman. Or even a black woman.
But for being trans.. at this stage of my self-awareness journey anyways, it feels like something that is entirely about other people’s perception of me as trans, a mere description of my life trajectory having been assigned to be one gender but I vetoed and invalidated that assignment in favor of my own contrary self-knowledge and need.
I’m sure there is a much fuller experience of trans than what I list above. Certainly there is a unifying theme of the (apparently) uncommon drive to fly in the face of society’s explicit demands for conformity in favor of one’s own self-knowing. Time and again, I have experienced firsthand that instant bond of recognition and empathy between persons which is born of people living the same oppression. Especially, when it comes to being trans. I have definitely experienced community among my fellow trans people… so why do I feel so keenly that while being trans identifies my life experiences, it is not my identity?
Is it due to internalized transphobia of some sort? I know as I read this thru and come back to add this paragraph, what I’m saying sounds an awful lot like similar protestations I’ve heard: ”Being gay doesn’t define meeee, I’m just someone who happens to experience homosexual attractions…” etc. No that is not what I mean at all, I hope.
What I think I mean is that … so MUCH of my life, even to this day, actually revolves around accomodating the social consequences of my being trans…. but is mere oppression enough reason to take it on as an identity?
Personally, I feel I experience MUCH more blatant oppression around my trans status than I do with race. As far as life challenges go, being trans has been many times more difficult than being black and I probably think about it way more than I do race or any other zone of marginalization I live within. But is that due to my having a more multi-dimensional understanding of my blackness (identity, culture) than I do my transness (burden, stigma)? Or is it because I am loathe to acknowledge areas of privilege in my other identities (do I not experience being black as terribly oppressive simply because I am relatively privileged as far as my blackness goes, e.g. being light skinned, being middle-class, being from the U.S. etc…?) and wish only to attach the grand title of ”identity” to areas in my life I feel I can be more “proud” of?
Is it a lack of self-awareness or lack of appreciation for the complexity and positive reward of trans experience?
I’m not sure.. but these are questions that consume me on the daily. I am determined to sort this all out
Tobi Hill-Meier of Handbasket Productions has three videos up. All three of these videos are sexually explicit, so be aware. I’ve embedded them at the end of the post, but qtube can use the hits, too.
The first video is a trailer for Doing it Ourselves: The Trans Women Porn Project, positive porn featuring trans women, created by trans women.
The second is a trailer for The Genderfellator. From Handbasket’s catalog:
As a response to an earlier film widely criticized as transphobic, this plot driven pornographic parody following Rip (Texas), a young trans man from the present who falls asleep for 80 years and wakes up in the middle of a major conflict over illegal genders, and discovers that only he can end the longstanding conflict between the authoritarian Androdyke Brigade and the Radical Gender Resistance.
And finally, a video in which Tobi explains trans women and strap ons. I found it quite informative.
As the date for my SRS quickly approaches, a very unwelcome kind of weirdness has sprung up amongst my friends: wanting to see my new vagina.
I’m at a loss to explain this really. There have been no requests to view my pre-surgery genitals (to make a comparison), only requests to see the post surgical results. Even stranger, the requests come exclusively from women. Am I missing out on some ritualistic part of womanhood? Do cis females throw parties where they all inspect each other’s vaginas?
I think not.
So why this weirdness? As I said, I’m pretty sure that cis women don’t usually show their vaginas to each other. This leads me to the conclusion that this is another facet of the ‘ownership’ of trans bodies by cis people. By ownership, I mean the strange psychology that leads cis people to grab the breasts or crotch of trans people in public and ask them about their genitals in public. Cis people seem to think they have a right to know about our bodies and what we’ve done to them, even though they would not volunteer such information about themselves.
This is obviously why they feel that they are also entitled to see my post-surgery genitals.
But one wonders WHY they want to see my vagina when they had no interest in my pre-vagina state. As I said earlier, there can be no basis for comparison without seeing the ‘before’. One can only assume then that their sole interest in viewing my vagina is vetting the authenticity of my lady parts and making a comparison to their OWN lady parts.
This vetting process is, of course, just another facet of cis people deciding whether or not you’re allowed to be a woman. If your vagina doesn’t match up to their (biased) expectations, then you’re relegated back to the “almost woman” category and looked upon as a kind of second class woman who can never match up the vaunted first class or ‘real’ women. You can guarantee that they will find flaws in your vaginal construction that invalidate your femininity, even though their OWN vagina would not stand up to such intense scrutiny.
And that’s what it’s all really about – making sure that they feel that their ‘real’ vagina is superior to my ‘fake’ vagina, bolstering their authenticity as a ‘real’ woman and putting me in my place as a ‘fake’ woman.
So I have decided that I’m not going to show my vagina to anyone but my partner and my doctor. I’m not going to subject myself to being judged by an impossible standard by a biased jury. I will not give cis people an excuse to trash trans people by saying to their friends “Oh, I’ve seen a transsexual vagina – it wasn’t that great really, you could TOTALLY tell that it wasn’t a real one”.
Their unhealthy obsession with my post-surgical genitalia will just have to remain unsatisfied. Their imaginations can run wild with conjecture as to how authentic it looks, but they will never actually know.
Just wanted to let y’all to know that New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic have gotten back to me. I’m not sure what I can really make public right now (an email is not a press release yeah?), but we are talking. Some alternatives for possibly trans friendly health care in NOLA that they’ve given me are:
The Drop-in-Center Clinic: located at 428 N. Rampart Street. The Drop-in-Center provides trans-affirming care. The Center provides medical and social services to youth between the ages of 13 and 24 years-old. Services at the Center are geared toward homeless, at-risk, and queer youth. They can be reached at 504-897-948-6701.
Planned Parenthood of Louisiana: located at 4018 Magazine Street. Their number is 504-897-9200.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of New Orleans, which is located at 212 Decatur Street in the French Quarter. The Center’s number is 504-945-1103.
The St. Thomas Community Health Clinic, located Uptown in the Lower Garden District at 1020 St. Andrew Street, and they can be reached at 504-529-5558.
At least for trans women:
Gene linked to transsexualism
by Melanie Macfarlane SYDNEY: The first genetic link to male-to-female
transsexualism provides new evidence of the biological nature of the
condition, say Australian researchers. ‘There is a social stigma that
transsexualism is simply a lifestyle choice, however…
For the new study, Harley and his team took DNA from 112
male-to-female transsexuals and 258 non-transsexual men. They looked
at the sequence of three genes …
…Nevertheless, “we think that these genetic differences might reduce
testosterone action and under-masculinise the brain during foetal
development” said co-author Lauren…
…researchers. “There is a social stigma that transsexualism is
simply a lifestyle choice, however our findings support a biological
basis of how gender identity develops” said Vincent Harley…
And the link that you probably can’t read:
I don’t have any more information than that. I can’t read the article, and dredged the quotes from elsewhere.
I’m not endorsing this, either, just relaying.