Cassandra Keenan

The kind of girl I am

Filed By Cassandra Keenan | May 24, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: gender expression, prejudice, riot grrrl

A lot of guys, I make them abruptly blurt out, "What's your name?" after talking to me for a mere minute or two. They are overcome with excitement because I am a bubbly type and also naturally friendly to the point of making guys not believe it that a girl like me would be this amazingly accessible.

girlygirl.jpgA lot of them, they look at me in disbelief when I am talking to them like a regular person, gesturing and communicating with them like a friend, and they smile and their eyes go, bling, twinkling with glee and beholding the newfound possibilities and also flattered that I would give them my time and attention.

They look at me and keep up the conversation, but they also sneak glances at parts of me that they particularly enjoy. For instance, I always wear shoes I really like, and the guys, they like them too. I like to wear heels, and I am a girl who also likes to make her feet look pretty by sporting Fuschia Bling Bling nail polish. I make them look all nice, and many guys, they indulge themselves in their imagination when they see things like this. I wear the shoes and the nail polish together, and they are like a bomb. Lethal and shit to testosterone lust.

Me, I'm also the type who likes to do her eyes up in the morning before she leaves the house. I put eye shadow on and then black eyeliner. Then I wave my mascara wand and make my eyelashes all fluttery like I'm Mae West. I make my eyes come alive, and they are looking like magic when I leave the house, like I'm some hot-ass cat chick. And I strut to my car, all aware that the world is mine.

Other reactions

I am a girl whose chosen name is Cassandra, but I wasn't always brave enough to be so, and every time in the past, I would admire girls who were like the way I was inside, but they did it out loud instead of keeping it locked up.

Many guys at work, they knew me during this time of hiding. But then I blossomed into a butterfly, and now many of them stand clear and even look the other way when I am walking by, afraid to make eye contact. When we cross paths in a corridor or navigate tight spaces of the building where I work, most make an extra effort to come nowhere near me, like I am diseased.

Sometimes, I will walk toward one of these guys, such as if they happen to be heading in the opposite direction, facing me, in the morning when I am looking all fresh and ready to take on the world. I use my strut and I am all confident, basically a bad ass mother fucking chick, and they get visibly nervous and they look away. They are afraid to want me. But I've developed somewhat of a penchant to enjoy watching them squirm. "I will confront your transphobia," I think to myself.

girlsrule.jpgBut sometimes I will cover up things that the guys happen to like seeing -- or get all trans-panicky about. Like I have this outfit where I wear blue jeans, black boots, a tank top and a dark-colored Covington blazer, and I look in the mirror and feel and look like a girl who has a traditionally boyish flair (think grrrl goddess Suzi Quatro.) And it makes a very profound part of me smile when I see it.

Many people do not like it much when I do this because I do not match their expectations, and they seem to feel awkward that I am throwing this curveball at them, causing them to wonder what to make of me after thinking they had gotten the hang of how I wanted to present myself. "She is M2F. Why this look?" They recommend things that I should do to make myself look more "feminine." Like they say tucking my hair behind one or both of my ears gives me a softer look. Or maybe they suggest I wear a pink, low-cut top.

But in my mind, I say, Fuck that. These are days when I don't want to look soft. I frequently like to look like a girl who might roll up her sleeve and give some wise ass piece of shit a good punch upside his head. But not actually do it, of course. Just looking rough and tumble. That said, there's always a danger that I just might tell you to fuck off.


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This is awesome. :D Period. Sounds like you're owning it!

ellysabeth | May 24, 2010 8:13 PM

You tell them, girl! Just give it to them straight (or as queer as you like), all "back the fuck off, I am here and this is MY space"!

God knows *I* need to do exactly that. It's like number two on my list of important things to do, right under coming out. It's a combo strike, you see, I'll catch them unawares with my hidden transness, then while they're still reeling with that one, smack 'em right upside the head with a nice meaty "and don't you even think of stepping".

Or, more likely, I'll just stay in the closet where creatures like I belong. Out of sight, out of mind, and all that. ):

...but oh, how I envy your chutzpah.

Dodge Man | May 24, 2010 9:22 PM

Bravo! Dang I could use some of that attitude, instead of being so in the shadows walked all over, hope it pleases every body type.

Cassandra, "U are That Kinda Girl Aren't U?"
Sooo nicely written- humor, wit, sexy and rite to the point. I look forward to reading and finding out What Kinda Girl I Am! XO, ;+

I would be one of the not-heel-wearing, non-bubbly, allergic to fuschia, non-ass-kicking, wuss-at-heart, less-than-confident kinds of women.

But I

:D

That sounds *so* familiar to me...

LOL

Awesome piece :D

Walking the walk and talking the talk. You rock sister!

Love Jannie

sounds quite a bit like myself.
I expect respect,
I demand respect,
and I command respect.

Once we are free from the requirement to express gender in only one way, it's amazing what we can come up with, isn't it? Personally, I love all trying out several looks from ├╝berfeminine to "are you sure that's a woman?"

So keep owning it, chica. Kudos to you!

Muah,
Jenna

Rock the fuck on, Cassandra! I totally get where you're coming from.

I get the same thing. I'm a rather girly girl MtF myself, and my friends all know me so. They just can't figure out why I go to heavy metal shows, and do so in jeans and a guy's concert T-Shirt, though sometimes I wear a more gothic black dress. Hells, sometimes I'm in the band! I always say, "That's what I like, and I follow my rules. Being MtF shouldn't forbid me from that!"

Stand tall!
~Sera
(P.S. Long time lurker, first time poster.)

But why is it US culture puts such a high value in being "kick ass", telling someone to "fuck off," "commanding" or "owning it"? It all sounds very defensive to me. I like chutzpah and Suzi Quatro, but all the dominant descriptives are kind of a turn off to me. Just my opinion... none of this is anything to which I aspire.

I'm thinking this isn't specific to American culture. Odysseus was one bad-ass *shut your mouth*.

I fucking hate that as a transwoman, my ideas about fashion somehow put my identity in jeopardy.

Allison Wunderland | May 27, 2010 2:51 AM

The other day, just outside the coffee house, I was jumping on E's case because she was smoking. She confessed that the reason she was smoking was to "manage stress" . . . that she'd "come out" about her sexuality with her family.

OK, to put this in some perspective, I'm not female, not externally anyway. These days I've adopted a policy of "Don't ask, don't care."

And so what I told E. and my observation here is: "My therapist, who specializes in sexuality, reminds me that 'gender' and 'sexuality' are a continuum. And so when someone asks me about my 'orientation' I tell them I have one."

Female persona online, a beard, tractor, lace curtains, dolls on the bed, gun collection. Stereotypes are for cultural oppression.

ya go girl I can respect that.