Thursday, 24 July 2008

A Big Trans Post, from a small trans person

Yup, there's so much work coming in today. Look at all the typing I am doing. It must be work. Problem is, you leave the office unstaffed for an hour and you get two calls, viz:

1)"Hello, Spielberg here. I would like to give Actor Z this leading role. The fee will be five squillion dollars."

2)"Hello, Spielberg here. No-one has got back to me yet. Your agency is obviously not to be trusted. I have given the part to Brad Pitt."

So... I are the bored.

Apparently, the trans stuff on this here weblog could be "confusing". I've written real SRS BZNS* trans stuff? I thought I just wrote inane rubbish about dragons?

I'm sure I don't need to do a trans FAQ for morons, the ZOMG, transwomen aren't just men in dresses, really? kind. So, I'll assume that the reader is not mind-numbingly, wilfully stupid, shall I? Good.

Here are facts and links, then, in an almost entirely random order. They will probably be about trans guys, female genderqueers, etc. - trans women, etc. deserve a very long post of their own.

1) This confused me for ages, and I ended up offending some British trans people: "transgender" means different things in the US and the UK. In the US, it is generally used as an umbrella term that encompasses ALL trans people. In the UK, it doesn't encompass binary transsexual people - the people you mostly hear about when trans issues are discussed.

2) It is possible to be both transsexual and transgender - I've heard trans people of both types suggest that it's not. You can have a different brain sex to your physical sex, and a gender identity that does not fit within the norms of your culture. It's statistically unlikely, but hell, there are black lesbian one-legged Jews out there, and I bet they're fed up of the "unlikely member of society" jokes. You could be physically intersexed as well, as a matter of fact.

3) Queer trans guys are quite common. We are not girls. Otherwise, all queer non-trans guys would actually be girls, and the number of transsexual women would increase quite dramatically (yes, I know that all but the goons referred to above should be able to understand this - but... they don't).

This is mainly a sexual health booklet, but it's got pictures of gay trans guys being decidedly... gay. And having lots of fun, it seems. Probably NSFW... depends on where you work, I suppose.

4) Sexual and reproductive health is a Good Thing, while I think on - this is one of the few areas in which trans people need to be treated according to their anatomy, not their brain sex or gender. But, be tactful about it?

5) Not many trans guys have genital surgery. Some, like me, aren't bothered either way (or would sooner chew off their own arms than allow a SCALPEL near their GENITALS - I have sympathy with that view as well); some just don't want "Frankenstein's Cock" as one guy put it - the available surgery leaves many guys dissatisfied.

6) BINGO! For those not familiar with the meme, people have been creating internets bingo cards about "contentious" issues for a while - for example, one about race might talk about the *very friendly* social masochist that I so often mention. So, these are things NOT to say.

7) Raven Kaldera suggests here that you don't say "but you're so short!" to a trans guy. I concur.

8) I can't find the Questionable Content comic that coins** the word "boobsplosion" to describe the act of a trans guy unbinding his breasts. Anyone want to post a link?

9) Erm... half-naked trans guys? Not very diverse. They mainly look like... well, me, were I all testosteroned-up. They're rather more attractive, though.

10) There's a stereotype about trans guys taking Women's Studies courses, in the hope that they'll find their inner woman. They don't, but they emerge with the ability to spot sexism from a mile off. When you meet a trans guy who is SRSLY FEMINIST, like me, don't get confused if he looks male - there could be reasons for that greater understanding.

11) While anti-trans violence disproportionately effects trans women (and ethnic minorities - like all random violence, it's generally racist and sexist as well as whatever else) I have to link to the Remembering Our Dead list. There are plenty of trans men, female genderqueers, etc. on there. The threat of violence is a daily reality for many of us. If I lived in a different neighbourhood, had different family or "friends" or a different skin colour, it would be close to miraculous if I was around to write this. Which brings me neatly to:

12) Trans people are not exaggerating about their experiences of discrimination. Yes, some of them are unbelievable; yes, they seem like stories from some Third World dictatorship, not modern Western "civilisation". But, they are true. Of course, that applies to many more well-known types of discrimination, too.

I'm not sure why I numbered these. They were disparate thoughts in my head.

Don't you feel informed now? Or not? Any questions?

*ha, the abbreviation of "serious" reads like Sex Reassignment Surgery, which is a little bit genital-obsessed as a name, is't not?

**it's not a coinage, it's a blending. Very few words are true coinages. Thought you might like to know that***

***why, I have no idea.

1 comment:

Kim Wilson said...

like i said in your newer post, but adding who cares as long as your happy in your own body it doesnt matter what other people think :D