Guest Blogger

Seeing Beyond Pink and Blue

Filed By Guest Blogger | May 31, 2008 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: androgyne, gaydar, gender expression, guest post, perceived gender, transgender

Editor's Note: Zythyra is an acoustic musician, writer and activist who lives in rural NH. Zie has had considerable practice over the past few years trying to construct sentences without using any gender pronouns.

Gendering.

We all do it. We meet someone, and automatically categorize them as being male or female. We add up both obvious and subtle cues to figure out which sex they are. Maybe we have good gaydar skills, and further identify them as gay or lesbian. This is a useful skill, especially if we're single and looking for a potential partner, or perhaps a date for this weekend. Maybe we also have good transdar skills and can even identify the person as having a transgender history- someone who has lived as a different gender in the past.

I don't know whether gendering other people is human nature or just learned so early on that it seems natural to us. But then, once we go into the processing department, we clearly have sets of cultural assumptions that are assigned with each gender. These assumptions have been conditioned in us since childhood; we expect certain traits, mannerisms and behaviors to go along with the gender that we think we see. We're also conditioned to respond to the person and perhaps act in different ways, depending on which gender we think we are relating to. This is what I wish to explore further today.

I am a person with a transgender history. I transitioned, did what is known as the Real Life Test for a year or so, and came to the realization that I am neither gender- or somewhere in between. I decided at that time to not go any further with HRT, hormone therapy, so I inhabit an outwardly appearing male body with a psyche that isn't male. In a perfect world with no discrimination, my gender expression and clothing choices would lean closer toward the feminine, however I also like to eat and have a roof over my head, so I wear male clothing to work.

A few years ago, I started meeting other people who also don't identify as either gender; some are androgyne, genderqueer, bigender, two spirit, neutrois, etc. Some of these people's gender expression is androgynous, or a mix. Others appear more as their birth gender, and thus are invisible to others unless they out themselves. I also have friends who are transsexual, but for various reasons, haven't transitioned. As I've gotten to know fellow gender variant people, I realized that if I didn't know their transgender status, we could meet on the street and not have any idea that we were family, so to speak. This really got me thinking.

We cannot see someone else's subconscious gender identity. This macho looking guy might really be M2F transsexual. This woman with long hair might be a non transitioning male identified androgyne. Who knows? We're not all wearing signs that announce our preferred gender to the world. Or even name tags. I can see mine now, "Zythyra, male bodied, female identified androgyne".

Maybe if we had a secret handshake so we could recognize each other...

I dislike when people make assumptions about me based solely on my perceived gender. Because of this, I endeavor to relate to other people in a gender blind manner. It doesn't mean that I don't see their physical sex characteristics, but I don't want to act one way toward someone who is perceived as female and another way to someone who is perceived as male. I want to treat everyone the same, simply as human beings.

Here's the cool thing. Sometimes, when I don't talk to the macho guy as a "guy", he surprises me, and perhaps himself, saying things that allow me to see the true humanity inside. We get past our differences and see each other as real people. My ongoing challenge is to continue throwing away my own assumptions of who people might be- regardless of their perceived sex or gender.

I wonder what the world would be like if we all tried this.


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This was a really interesting post, Zythyra. It really forces us all to think about how we approach people with preconceived gender roles and perceived views.

pennyjane | May 31, 2008 5:23 PM

i know people as well who are androgyn or two-spirited. those who travel about on the gender scale, have no fixed address, can be difficult for many of us to deal with. as one of those who does internalize gender as binary i have no problem with relating to people in whatever manner they may choose, but i will leave the responsibility for identifying any choice they have made that leaves them desiring treament in any other then the typical binary manner to them. in other words, if you look like a man, put out male signals, i will treat you as a man until such time as you make me aware of another way you might wish to be addressed. i don't know either for sure if it's cultural or not, i strongly feel though that it is human nature to identify by gender others of our own species.

i am a transwoman, i went as far as surgery and it seems to have worked out pretty well for me. but then i don't see myself as two spirited or ambiguous: i internally identify as female. period. what we do with who we are is our choice, though who we are made is usually going to be who we end up. i very often have to correct people when it comes to my gender. especially people who knew me a long time before i transistioned. i do so firmly but without impuning their integrity or sense of social construct. i guess you could say mutual respect. i demand respect and i give as i demand.

You go!! I've transitioned and changed my gender presentation, however, gender is a continuum and I'm somewhere in the middle. I look forward to the day when gender diversity is accepted and noticed in society.

Zythyra, I really liked this piece. Part of what you talked about had to do with the bane of our existance, "Labels." Society (and many in the LGB AND ***T*** community) want to label the holy s-word out of us. "Well, you still got this and you do this, so you have to be a f---ing this." Pleeeezzzze! If some people are so damn excited about labeling everything, then they need to work in a canning factory. Humans are not cans.

If you think about it, we all have had, or still have a list of labels that would stretch from here to the moon of Pluto (Charon.) Fetus, newborn, baby, child, submariner, father, son, daughter, lover, activist and bitch are some that have been stuck on me over the years. I use some labels in my activist toolbox for whatever occasion I need, but when I'm through for the day, I put them back in the toolbox and the only label that matters is "Monica." Call me anything you want, but don't call me late for dinner.

It is something my girlfriend and I have discussed. Current body parts or future body parts don't change how we feel about each other. The true person is who I'm in love with, and that is her. Pre-op, post-op, non-op, none of that matters. It's what's inside of us that matters. Labels be damned.

pennyjane | May 31, 2008 11:24 PM

labels are essential to converse. you just labled, you said humans are not cans. that's a label. i think what you really don't like is being mislabled or labels with judgment attached. perhaps if we all just tried to label ourselves honestly we would run into much less difficulty. for instance; the label "transgender" has come to mean anything from a panty fetishist to a post op transwoman. it has no other purpose anymore then to convelute and confuse. what the heck do a panty fetishist and a transwoman have in common?

what we need to do is label without judgment. i know, that's about as silly as knocking all labeling, but at least it's understandable. i am a transwoman. that's the label i use for myself and make it known that it's the label i want others to use when identifying me. i do not use transgender because i don't want to be asscociated with a panty fetishist. if one is a panty fetishist that's their gig, not mine.

i have been married to a heterosexual gg (there's a label) for over twenty eight years. we get that it's what's inside that matters, not the parts...(thank God) she loved me before transition and surgery and she loves me now. when she is out with people who don't know her or her circumstances and says something about her wife (a label) she gets that questioning look. she explains that she is married to a transwoman (label). let's face it, communicating without labels would be impossible. let's just each one of us try to use the appropriate labels. don't be afraid to ask when we don't know, and don't get so offended when someone makes a mistake. just correct it and move on. when people use labels as expressions of judgment, it's the judgment that's the problem, not the label. much love and hope, pj

I've just attended the Be-All conference in Chicago, and it rocks!
It was an educational experience for me, although I transitioned more than 35 years ago, in that all too often we allow others to identify us, and we try to live up to other's expectations so that we are liked and accepted. If we put more emphasis on self-discovery, we get in touch with our inner being, and by doing so will be liked because we reach a higher comfort level on a deeper level of self-acceptance. All too often we alloow other people's perception of us to dictate our attempts to meet certain standards of appearance, and we give others a measure of control over us that's unwarranted and inappropriate. It's when we can get in touch with the core of our being, that we become free to be who we are and by doing so, we are free to love who we love. By living up to the demands of others and by living up to loving who the hierarchical and male-domninated society says we should, we give them power over our lives that should be reserved only for ourselves and, if we believe in it, the Supreme Being.
The hard part is in getting in touch with our true inner being, but by doing so we can feel free to love who we love when we fall in love with the inner being of someone else.

Thanks for the comments everyone! Monica, I really like your analogy of labels belonging on cans, not people.

I'm imagining a world without labels on cans... One would start to prepare dinner, go to the cupboard, reach for a few unlabeled cans, and the next thing you know, there is pasta with pineapple clam sauce for dinner, cream of mushroom/cling peach soup for the first course. Ick! I hate to think of what we're eating for dessert.

I guess I have to rethink everything. Perhaps abolishing labels isn't such a great idea after all. It could be the end of society as we know it.

This sort of gets into the idea of gender as a social construct. I don't believe that that's completely true -- I believe that there's something innate and immutable at the heart of us, that sense that "just is," whether we realize that we are female or male or dual-gendered in some degree.

Social thinking does construct a lot around gender, though -- roles, expectations of appearance and behaviour, connotations, generalizations, and I don't feel that can be dismissed or downplayed (even the associations about "pink and blue" go only as far back as the 1920s). As such, these things may differ from culture to culture, but the innate understanding of one's own gender does not.

There is much to be gained by challenging the social aspects, not just of gender, but also of race, age, ability / disabilty, orientation, nationality, marital status, economic status and belief system. When we can stop seeing each other by labels and start seeing each other as people, only then will we have equality in spirit, as opposed to equality in legal practice.

Maybe that's just a daydream, and I know that for some, people cling to their labels as a source of comfort and self-definition.

I should add that Two Spirit is a term that sometimes gets misused by dual-gender culture. "Two Spirit" is a relatively new term, originating at a 1990 conference, but is meant to describe a vast collection of North American Aboriginal traditions (which can differ significantly in name and belief) concerning people who stepped outside heteronormative and heterosexist boundaries. This includes all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and visibly intersex people. Quite often, there was an innate understanding of one's "calling" and/or dreams and visions that accompanied embarking upon a Two Spirit life, and there is a strong spiritual component that cannot be completely seperated from Two Spirit identity. As much as these traditions were nearly obliterated by missionary practices, social marginalization and the breaking of the spirit of the Native peoples, I feel that it's important that people in dual-gender culture avoid co-opting and misusing this term further.

pennyjane | June 1, 2008 12:39 PM

mercedes......as you defend and attempt to clearify the label..."two spirit" you chastise the rest of us for using lables. you dispairage the use of labels by others, they CLING to them as if they were weak and insubstantial. but, you...no, you're too smart and evolved for such nonsense. what is "dual gender culture"? reeks of label to me.

the fact is labels are necessary for communication. you can deny reality all you want and live in fantasy. reality is what it is and you can't change it with your own fantasylife.

social construct is something we all live with, it's essential to a civil society. be upset about what you are upset with, not some easily targeted surrogate. you don't like labels you don't like and you very much like labels you do like. "you look nice" is a label, it puts me in with the good looking people. i like that. "you look like a drag queen" is a label, it's puts me in with the men in dresses. i hate that label!

living without labels is not just a pipe dream, it's pure fantasy. living without social construct, transitory as it may be, would be living without society. anarchy...another unreasonable fantasy.

instead of trying to teach people the impossible and unreasonable wouldn't it make a lot more sense to ask people to take notice of the labels they use and try to use them appropriately? just my opinion, but what do i know? i'm just a girl. pj

Yeah, I see that sounded kind of confusing, and the segue that should have happened there was "while acknowledging that people see a need for their own labels (I didn't mean for that to sound condemning), here's a clarification on one such label."

And I don't condemn people for embracing labels themselves -- only when those labels are thrust upon others.

instead of trying to teach people the impossible and unreasonable wouldn't it make a lot more sense to ask people to take notice of the labels they use and try to use them appropriately?

Ideally. In reality, peoples' definitions of their labels vary wildly, and so there can be often a lack of consensus of what those labels mean. You might be right: in a demographically-focused society, though, that might be all we can try to do. However, I get tired of all the energy that gets wasted arguing about labels.

There is a latent hostility to labels among many in the LGBTT2IQQA--and counting--communities, though I suspect it is more at the established end than at the less established one.

There was a time when all of us would simply be part of the "gay community" and accept that term because, well, like the transwomen in Susan Stryker's film, Screaming Queens, we simply did not know what we were--nor did anyone else.

And their/our 'compulsion'--I hate that word, but let's go with it for the moment--was one of great shame.

Until the Compton Cafeteria Riot.

I once exchanged email with a gay man of a certain age who expressed great nostalgia for these simpler days when we WERE all gay. And I suppose he regretted he was no longer prominent in this community.

Yes, 'labels' are confusing and simply not convenient. However, neither is it convenient to be the marginalized minorities represented by these identities.

I also hope for the day when the 'alphabet soup' won't be necessary, when it won't be necessary to remind those who ARE the majority in LGBTQ communities that, as allies of all of us who will probably always remain minority, they should not forget/erase our existence.

Until we are named, we can't be thought. Until we are thought, we don't exist--and our lives, needs and struggles, well, this is not a nice place to live.

This is my message for all allies.

This is great. I wish we could all just be. But there's so much invested in gender, and playing with gender is so much fun, that I don't think that it's going to go away. People make assumptions because they'd rather guess than ask, so I think that's where we are.

"Until we are named, we can't be thought. Until we are thought, we don't exist--and our lives, needs and struggles, well, this is not a nice place to live."

Thanks for saying this Jessica! Who I am, and my gender, is too often invisible to the world. It isn't easy to name ourselves using the language of the oppressors. I'm still trying to invent my language.

There is a tension within this discussion--certainly a balance to be achieved.

Alex's comment that "playing with gender is so much fun" I think points to it. As dose, from the other side, Mercedes's comment about there being something innate.

The two spirit teachers I know speak of the way in which, as the child's gifts are revealed, so the child is educated. What lies between the legs, and when the child is an adult, who the adult sleeps with, is not of concern. Period.

It is the child's developing role in the community that is.

The matter rests with the spirit--in this case, the work towards balance.

There is much the two spirit tradition can teach us.


I'm reminded of the traditional end of a drag queen performance, when the wig is removed, demonstrating that 'she' is not a 'she' and that the whole performance was play.

I quite share pennyjane's disquiet on this, not because I, or she, have any difficulty with anyone's desire to play, but that our lives, as the women of transsexual experience we are, are not gender play.

In the past, I've used the phrase, this is where my spirit has lead me, this is how I discover balance in my life.

It is here that the challenge rears its head in trying to craft one, single message for all LGBTQ people.

There is too much danger than those in the majority, who favour play will, unthinkingly, erase the importance of our lives when what they see in our lives is, to them, the same sort of play.

I have, certainly I work to have as much fun in my life as do others--it took me a long time to get to the place in my life where I could begin to do this.

But I do not play with my subconscious sex--to use Julia Serano's term, which I much prefer to gender identity, because it is not gender, it is sex,but not sexuality in the sense of sexual orientation.

I do not believe there is one message that can be crafted for all LGBTQ people--other than that we are all persons and as persons we are all due the same dignity and respect as all persons are.

This must be the basis of the coalition we must form, not some single identity that must be policed--and those who do not fit in orientation, or gender identity/subconscious sex or gender presentation must be thrown away.

I think that the objection to wider use of "Two Spirit" is based on CULTURAL appropriation, that is, it is a term applying to First Peoples' traditions, and unless you are a F.P. member, it's a bit presumptuous to use it, unless invited. Rather like a white kid using the war chief's regalia and a faked "dance" as a football mascot. Not polite or respectful! There's a relatively long history of whites using fake "Indian" spiritual traditions. If you are Catholic, that's rather like a non-Catholic marching in and demanding to partake of the Eucharist (Catholic tradition requires that you be received into the Church first).

All that aside, "Two Spirit" thought is interesting and I daresay if we Anglos listen, we might learn something.

pennyjane | June 1, 2008 8:02 PM

alex, if we don't tell they won't ask...and if they guess there's strong odds they will guess wrong, and usually pajoratively. human nature at work.

jessica, you speak reasonably and intelligently. yes, i think it's quite alright for people who can to play with gender, but i take it way to seriously for that. i've struggled with gender my entire life, not had fun with it but try to figure it out. it's been very difficult, almost impossible i'd think in my times to come to an understanding and comfort level with who and what i am. fifty some years of being beaten, lied to, driven into the ground, called a faggott, a pervert, a queer, a transvestite and who knows what all else left me with one of those very clear gender dysphorias. nope, it's not a game for me.

unfortunately most transvestites, crossdressers and panty fetishists don't understand that. to them it is a game, an outlet, an expression, they like to present their "feminine side". no, i don't fit in that label and i won't wear it. first of all i am a woman. that matters, it matters alot. i am not one of those who goes through life having things that trouble me and cause me great grief referred to as not important. you are doggone right my gender is important to me. it's very important. i am tick'led pink that God made me the WOMAN that i am. being a transwoman is far, far better to me then being not a woman at all. i like being a transwoman, it's a label i celebrate and give humble thanks for every day of my life. no it's not a game and it sure as heck hasn't been easy getting to the place where i can celebrate it. i consider it grace. yes, almost a miracle. when i look around and see all the confusion and conflict. people hiding themselves away their whole lives or living fantasy, never getting to know and love that person they really are. folks who aren't happy and well adjusted telling people how to make themselves happy and well adjusted.

ever notice in the "tg" world how important pictures are? those who present the best "illusion" are the ones held in the highest regard in that scattered vanacular. how one looks is paramount. they could be a raging idiot but if they pass well, then by golly that's who all the rest want to be like. how incredibly shallow a community. no, i don't want myself identified with that at all! leave me out, i'm a transwoman and my sexuality is a private matter between myself and my wife.

is that being judgmental? youbetcha. it's a judgment i make and i stand by it. as a woman i am not comfortable in the bathroom with men. i don't care how they are dressed, if they are men then use the men's room. i was glad to see tg dropped from the enda. there is no way in the world that allowing men who get off on wearing women's clothing into the ladies' rooms of america is going to stand. were that to come to pass they would set the ones of us who are not playing with gender back a long, long way.

i'm reminded of the johns hopkins debacle of the late 60's and early 70's. they were doing srs on anyone who popped in the door with the cash and knowing how to mouth..."born in the wrong body." that set back srs as an acceptable treatment for hbs by 20 years. real harm was done. not only to the crossdressers and transvestites who had the surgery only to find out that, "wow, this is for real!!! where's my beloved peepee???" but to the transwomen who couldn't find a reputable surgeon to do their srs for so long. labels matter and are necessary, vital means of communication. we just have to use accurate, truthful labels and do so without intruding on the labels of others as has happened over and over again to us by the rest of the so-called tg crowd. much love and hope to all, pj

pennyjane | June 1, 2008 10:21 PM

i totally agree nancy. it is very disrespectful to assume another's label and turn it into less then what it was. when i became a transsexual back in 1967 i was glad, thrilled in fact, to have a label to identify myself that seemed dead on the money. i got it from christine jorgensen's autobiography and understood that dr benjamin used the term to describe her condition, which was the same as mine. i identified with her completely. then, a few years later i was informed that drag queens were now transsexual. wait a minit....i thought....drag queens aren't like me, no...not at all! so some of us slipped out of there and began to use the term "transgender". that lasted about long enough to have a cup of coffee over it before all the crossdressers, transvestites and panty fetishists heisted it too.

if one is a panty fetishist, why can't he identify himself as a panty fetishist instead of co-opting my label? i have my ideas on this. yes, it is insulting to have my gender identity affilliated with a fetish of any kind. my gender has nothing to do with any sex act of any kind. yes, it impunes my dignity to be boxed up with panty fetishists. if a panty fetishist wasn't ashamed of himself then he would be just as glad as i am to shout it to the world..."hey! i'm a panty fetishist and i'm dang glad of it!" another of those things you'll never see on the nine o'clock news.

people who don't like the labels they belong under are the ones who are out there screaming about how much they hate labels. those of us who are happy with who we are wish we could have a label of our own. it's a whole different dichotomy. as soon as some of us finally get "transwoman" turned into something that can be respected we'll start seeing "miss transwoman america" pagents in the drag bars. here we go again. men who like to dress up like women at it again, denying themselves by co-opting us.

it's frustrating for those of us who are out there 24/7 trying to make the world aware of the fact that we are just normal people who happen to have been born intersexed. we aren't promoting any particular sexual act or identity. we just want to live our lives in congruence with our brain sex. our one and only gender. then some gay guy in a dress makes a fool of himself out in public, goes home, puts his pants on and leaves us holding the bag for his bad behavior. yes, there is animosity. you can bet when the cops pick him up in the bathroom soliciting sex he's not going to say he's a drag queen, no siree...he's "transgendered". then i see that same cop on the street and he gets a good laugh.

labels aren't the problem, misuse and co-opting of labels is.

"This sort of gets into the idea of gender as a social construct. I don't believe that that's completely true -- I believe that there's something innate and immutable at the heart of us, that sense that "just is," whether we realize that we are female or male or dual-gendered in some degree."

Mercedes,

I agree that our sense of gender is innate. I believe that sense also exists for sexual orientation. There is no question in my mind about the feelings I have about my gender. I'm not comfortable living as my birth sex. At the same time, I find it impossible to completely separate the aspect of social construct, or the assumptions that other people make regarding our genders. And yes, these are different depending on the culture in which one was raised.

"There is much to be gained by challenging the social aspects, not just of gender, but also of race, age, ability / disabilty, orientation, nationality, marital status, economic status and belief system. When we can stop seeing each other by labels and start seeing each other as people, only then will we have equality in spirit, as opposed to equality in legal practice.

Maybe that's just a daydream, and I know that for some, people cling to their labels as a source of comfort and self-definition."

It's a wonderful daydream. I don't need to abolish all the labels, but I endeavor to see clearly past them to the real person in front of me. When we label, it is all too easy to reduce the person to a caricature of who we think they might be, based on our own assumptions.

"As much as these traditions were nearly obliterated by missionary practices, social marginalization and the breaking of the spirit of the Native peoples, I feel that it's important that people in dual-gender culture avoid co-opting and misusing this term further."

I agree. I never use the term two-spirit to describe myself, for the very reason of not wishing to co-opt that which isn't my heritage. However, I have also learned a lot about my sense of gender from attempting to understand non binary gender people of other cultures and times throughout history.

it's frustrating for those of us who are out there 24/7 trying to make the world aware of the fact that we are just normal people who happen to have been born intersexed. we aren't promoting any particular sexual act or identity. we just want to live our lives in congruence with our brain sex. our one and only gender. then some gay guy in a dress makes a fool of himself out in public, goes home, puts his pants on and leaves us holding the bag for his bad behavior. yes, there is animosity. you can bet when the cops pick him up in the bathroom soliciting sex he's not going to say he's a drag queen, no siree...he's "transgendered". then i see that same cop on the street and he gets a good laugh.


Ummm --- is there something wrong with gay men who wear dresses? So what if some men wear dresses and some women wear men's clothes? Where's the harm in that?

I'm rather distressed by a few replies containing negative comments about some people within the transgender community; "crossdressers, transvestites and panty fetishists heisted it too".

I am proud to count among my friends everyone from drag queens to post op. I respect the right of each person to identify however they wish. Beautiful people cannot give any of us a bad name.

pennyjane | June 2, 2008 8:52 PM

i'm sorry the truth distresses you. what's wrong with calling a crossdresser a crossdresser? what's wrong with calling a transvestite a transvestie? what's wrong with calling a panty fetishist a panty fetishist? that's all i did.

you certainly have the perogative to count among your friends anyone you wish, is that supposed to make them my friends too? wrong, like you i reserve the right to pick my own friends.

i have no problem with people identifying themselves anyway they wish as well....as long as they aren't identifying themselves as me. another right i reserve for myself. you may find someone who likes to put on a pair of panties and play with themselves interesting, for me it's just too much information. i didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday...i know what transvestism is....i know they like to call themselves transgender...they do it because some of us made it respectable...now it isn't. thank you very much.

the truth is what is is and frankly i'm tired of coddling people who just don't like living in the real world. live in your fantasies all you like, just do me a favor...LEAVE ME OUT OF IT!!!

From earlier:

And I don't condemn people for embracing labels themselves -- only when those labels are thrust upon others.

Sigh. And there we have the exact trouble with labels. It seems to be not enough for people to embrace labels for themselves, they have to in turn use others' disparagingly (or apply ones that are inaccurate). Self-definition is fine; elevating oneself at the expense of another is not. I've often said, there's a big difference between "I'm not a drag queen" and "I'm not a f!@#ing drag queen."

If we can't learn to respect people in our own community -- even those times when we might not understand them or know the whole story -- we'll never earn respect for ourselves... nor should we expect it.

...i know what transvestism is...

You know the medical definition, yes. I've met people who identify themselves as TVs who do not, and don't even realize that that's the connotation. The labels have as many definitions as the people who use them.

Sigh.

pennyjane | June 2, 2008 9:51 PM

exactly what i am ranting about. people not accepting themselves for who and what THEY are. they go straight to my identification. i resent it. as long as the more educated among us permit it, we don't challenge it when we see it, it will continue to happen, and NO, none of us will ever get the respect of the mainstream. you are exactly right, when we don't respect ourselves enough to not allow others to keep changing our identities, co-opting our label then no, no one else will ever respect us. i respect myself. i am what i am and i am not ashamed of it. i will tell anyone who will listen that i am a post op transsexual. i don't pass, i don't "blend in" in the looks department. i blend in in the ways that matter.

i don't impose my sexuality on anyone, i keep it between myself and my wife. when i go out in public i demostrate my self respect by the way i dress and present. i'm a 58 year old transwoman whose seen her better days. but, you know what? i'm as happy as a lark. it's great being who i am and not being ashamed of it. i wish everyone else would try it and see what it's like.

i don't try to construct sentences without using gender pronouns....good Lord, i've got a life! frankly i like being called "she" and "her". i think most of us either like it or don't much care. why in the world would someone want to spend their time and energy trying not to offend a tiny minority of people who insult themselves every day more then i or anyone else ever could. i think the transwomen who try to hide their male voices sound silly. very, very few of them do it well. there has become a distrint "trannyvoice." i think that what i say is far more important then the sound it comes wrapped in. if someone puts out male signals i'll call him "him". if he doesn't like it, then just tell me and i'll gladly change it, but i'm not going to fret, wonder and worry about whether or not i'm using the proper pronoun. i really have better things to do with my life. if you want people to figure out the truth about who they are then stop playing along and start telling the truth. tell is like it is not how we'd all like it to be.

people not accepting themselves for who and what THEY are. they go straight to my identification.... when we don't respect ourselves enough to not allow others to keep changing our identities, co-opting our label then no, no one else will ever respect us.

So your label's taken and no one else can have it? Actually, that was not what I was talking about.

Chances are, none of the crossdressing, genderqueer, TV (for those who use a non-medical meaning of that term) or drag folk are co-opting the term "transsexual," so I assume that you are referring to the term "transgender," which was a crossdressing term that excluded transsexuals (coined by Virginia Prince), long before it was broadened by those who welcomed the diversity, and became an umbrella term. And that's how the word has evolved: it is now open to anyone who is gender variant who chooses to embrace it and who wishes to feel part of a larger community. Usually, some mutual respect is involved to make that possible.

If I'm wrong about the term you feel has been infringed upon, feel free to correct me. Otherwise, I'm calling for peace. Cool?

pennyjane | June 2, 2008 11:09 PM

ok vivian, i'll try to talk you through this, i'll type real slow. no, there is nothing wrong with a gay man wearing a dress. please listen to what i actually say, don't read anything in to it that isn't there. i speak very clearly. there is something wrong with a gay man in a dress making a fool of himself in public and then trying to convince people that he is something that he is not. that something is usually me. a transwoman. you see, that is the point i'm making. i'm not calling anyone anything, if it fits, then wear it. if it doesn't, then don't.

seems like an awful lot of folks are wearing it in here, but....jeeezzz you never see them in chruch? i know because, i'm there all the time. i'm glad to be what God made. if you are ashamed to take in before God, then you shouldn't be doing it.

heck, i know people just hate what i say. the truth is never welcome among the scared and the ones who profit from lies. the tg community is really nothing but a big lie itself. everyone is playing games, trying to make themselves feel good about something they don't like about themselves. it'll never work. until you learn to like yourself for who you actually are, then you'll just go through life spinning your wheels, miserable and unfulfilled. the way out is to figure out who you are, if you like it...be it. if you don't like it, change it. but just stop trying to be someone else, it's not good for you and it's certainly not good for the one you are impersonating. much love and HOPE, pj

pennyjane | June 2, 2008 11:25 PM

actually the term "transsexual" was coined by dr harry benjamin. he introduced it to the world as a "label" for the gender of christine jorgensen. it didn't take long before the drag queens got ahold of it and (poof) it didn't mean that no more. it meant men who like to dress up like girls and people like christine jorgensen. the people like christine jorgensen don't like being thought of as men in dresses. that's very offensive to us. we are not men of any order. try to understand that...we are women and we don't want to be lumped in with men, any men. it doesn't matter what his sexual practices are, i don't want to be identified with "him" period.

if people were happy with who they were then it wouldn't be so darn conveluted. it's true..what transsexual means depends on who you say it to. what transgender means depends on who you say it to. i simply love being a woman. i love the things i identify as feminine, i like it when someone tells me how nice they think i look. i am not ambiguous, so why can't i have a label of my own, that is no more ambigious then i am? because the men in dresses will take it and use it for themselves. (sigh) is right.

"Here's the cool thing. Sometimes, when I don't talk to the macho guy as a "guy", he surprises me, and perhaps himself, saying things that allow me to see the true humanity inside. We get past our differences and see each other as real people. My ongoing challenge is to continue throwing away my own assumptions of who people might be- regardless of their perceived sex or gender."

Amen to that! I always do my best not to make assumptions about people because I don't know everything about them. It first came to my attention in a conversation not about gender, but about anger. Someone said that we shouldn't get mad and react with anger at the person who cuts us off on the freeway...they might be having a really bad day, maybe they didn't mean to cut you off, they might have some sort of family emergency and they aren't in the best state of mind. That made me think about a lot of different situations and how in my own experience that other people's assumptions about me created a negative situation. So I taught myself not to assume (of course, I still do it sometimes and I'm often proven wrong when I do it).

Thanks for bringing this very important topic to light! It's important not only to gender, but to every aspect of life.

Well it seems that after Pennyjane pretty much
dominated the conversation with her rants,
people stopped coming to this site...or at least
stopped commenting.
Too bad. In my opinion, she sounded a lot like
so many "Christians" do.

Thanks John. It's too bad the conversation was derailed. I would add, although I am non binary gender, it doesn't in any way negate someone else who might identify as male or female. It's too bad that some people find existence of non binary genders to be so threatening.

pennyjane | June 2, 2010 10:24 PM

wow! it's been nearly two years since this conversation was "derailed" and still you are traumatized.

i don't usually make that much of a splash...killing websites, traumatizing people and all.

so, i apologize....i won't participate in any further conversation here...i'll just leave it to the locksteppers.

have a nice day. pj

Pennyjane, I never said anything in this entire thread of comments about being traumatized, by you or anyone else. If you actually take the time to read what I wrote, you will see this, as opposed to simply putting your words into my mouth (or pen). I hope you have a lovely day too!