The Duality & Unity of being T
TRANSGENDER: DEFINING WHO WE ARE Pt. 1
Every human, regardless of race, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation, at some point must ask, deal with and accept the question and know the answer to who you are as a person. Many will immediately say ‘I’m a lawyer, teacher, mother etc.’ in so many spiritual teachings that would be an incorrect statement. Who you are is not what you do. In Jonathan wells novel, True Self, he states, “The biggest identity crisis going on seems to exist in the blurry zone of confusion between what we do and who we actually are as a person.” That’s because there is a very strong tendency to identify ourselves with our primary activities as Trans People. We are often faced with an array of negative and limited views of who we as Trans-people are. Often in the media we are portrayed with continually perpetuated stereotypes. Lately browsing through the many transgender blogs, there a few that should be mentioned here. Transsexual cliché’s and stereotypes in the film, television and print media, by Calpernia Adams, actress/activist. She states the many negative, false, and over used terms that are wrongly applied to Transwomen.
- The over sexualized Trans in film
- The before and after shows
- The vast amount of documentaries that seemingly find the only interest of discussion in the transgender process; THE SURGERY!!!!!!!!!
More than likely, as Calpernia Adams states, we are portrayed by the all but powerful FOUR P’S:
- Punch line
- Poor thing
Calpernia Adams could not have said it better, “Look around you, while it is great that we are in the days that we can have a discussion about transgender issues. I believe the community should began to shape how we are perceived, between the early 90’s Jerry Springer shows to Transamerica (being played by a genetic female), if you look at the body of work and media attention given to the trans community, especially the Transwomen, we nearly fall in one of those four P’s 98% of the time.”
Another great Trans blog is from Monica Roberts’s Transgriot, where she explores the, can you believe it biased GAY MEDIA, RuPaul isn’t a Transgender so Stop Trying to Pass Him off as one. Roberts’s expresses her anger towards the gay media for always, when in comes to transgender issues, to run to RuPaul. A gay male who performs in drag for entertainment purposes only. Now I’m a big fan of RuPaul and the lines between transvestites and transgender can sometimes be very blurry, but Robert’s point here was to bring attention to the fact RuPaul who is a proud Gay man has been told on several accounts by the transgender activist groups to please refrain from using the derogatory term ‘Tranny’. Now I know here is where right wing LGBT goes nuts, because here you do have a sublet “T” of a wider minority group “LGBT” who are sticklers for being and requesting those powers that be, to be “Politically Correct.” Blatantly disregarding a Transgender group and in this case, The Dallas Transgender Community’s request to the gay publication, The Voice, to stop using the ‘Tranny’ word, RuPaul’s response? “Tran’s people should fuck off, if we object to being called Trannies.” Yes her words, words coming from someone whom I’m sure didn’t like it once when called a sh.. Packing faggot, but we all accept that could be hurtful and support those terms not being used. But here a group has made its point that it is a derogatory statement and a vast LGB community has simply brushed it off, because a transvestite says its OK and again a transvestites who is a gay male dressing as a woman for entertainment purposes only.
Now to be fair, I know many transgender people who say to one another “tranny”, “she male”, “chick with a dick”, etc., Just as I’ve heard gay men refer to each other as girl, “faggot”, queer etc. And the races using terms like “nigger”, “wetback”, “wasp” etc. I think as a group we all look the other way when someone within that community says that versus someone outside that community. But with all the terms and there are list and definitions for those that would like to know all the terms. We should all, regardless of what labels some will say, know who we are or do we? Obviously there are transvestites that don’t feel as strongly about transgender issues as most trans-people would, I see it every day on Facebook countless trans people posting LGBT news,(which is mostly LGB news) but seems unaware of anything pertaining to the trans community specifically. Those trans-people more than often are transvestites or cross dressers. There’s a split in the transgender world also, if you go to Monica’s site tgflix.com, where I am a member as well, you’ll see an array of beautiful “T-girls”, and thousands of the men that wait to devour them and countless links to the xxx side of the trans community. Then you have Trisha’s Myspace4tgirls.com, where you’d rarely find the same girls from TGflix. Most of the girls there are older, professional and started late in transition. But why is there a divide and separation? Is it just a lack of knowledge to what is out there far as social media for trans-people? I’d like to stay optimistic and say that’s the reason. There are other sites where they do seem to merge, transgenderdate.com and TSdating. Here in Charleston, SC there is a major trans support group, the largest in the state of south Carolina C.A.T.S. but those girls would never be caught on Erosguide, the trans escort side, and even more sadly would not be in the same company and vice-versa, Why? One can say the stigma being placed on the Trans community, one that had been lifted off the gay community during the 70’s is the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health. In the 70’s the gay rights movement was unable to really take hold until they were listed as no longer having a mental disorder. After that great achievement the gay movement flourished.
This Saturday, the American Psychiatric Association board of trustees approved the latest proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, what will now be known as the DSM-V. This marks a historic milestone for people who are transgender and gender non-conforming, as their identities are no longer classified as a mental disorder. Homosexuality was similarly declassified as a mental disorder in 1973.
Until now, the term “gender identity disorder” has been used to diagnose people who are transgender. For conservatives, this has provided rhetorical carte blanche to describe the entire Trans committee as disordered, delusional, and mentally ill. In some cases, this diagnosis has even been used to discriminate against Tran’s people, with claims that they are unfit parents or employees, as examples. On the other hand, insurance companies have been more willing to cover the expenses associated with transition under this language, because treatment for a disorder is considered medically necessary, rather than cosmetic.
The new manual will diagnose transgender people with “Gender Dysphasia,” which communicates the emotional distress that can result from “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.” This will allow for affirmative treatment and transition care without the stigma of disorder. Earlier this year, the APA also released new health guidelines for transgender patients, as well as a position statement affirming transgender care and civil rights. Both documents align with a new standard for respecting Tran’s people in the medical community.
It was only after homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder that ex-gay ministries formed, protesting the medical community’s decision to affirm non-heterosexual orientations. Some dangerous ex-trans ministries exist already and are championed by Focus on the Family, NARTH, PFOX, and other anti-LGBT organizations. It’s possible that these efforts may similarly increase in the wake of this DSM revision.
This means many things and if you are unaware of the Benjamin standards of care? Basically making you go through hurdles to get medical treatment (your hormones) not that necessary anymore. Largely it means fewer stigmas and more importantly it means a community can now move forward on defining who we are and what it means to be a transgender community. If the gay movement is a barometer of what this can do for its community, it will mean greater strides towards equality in the coming decade, those tiny trans kids we hear about may look back in 20 years and go where is all the discrimination, we can hope. But mostly and I say this as a proud and 15 year member of the trans community we can begin do define who we are, and where we should start is a community more united. Yes there are tons of girls that do female impersonation as Transwomen and men but don’t be so quick to cast them off. There was a time, very recent that was the only way a transperson could make money and hold on to their self respect at the same time and many still consider it an art form, not to just transform or look like a woman but to impersonate someone and give a great performance, even the heterosexual community has been doing it for years, without half the negativity from its own community. And yes there are girls like Gia Darling, Allahanna Starr and Queen dingaling that have made probably millions in the adult side of our community but how can anyone judge who has spent their life working as a man, creating his fortune, hiding who he was and now your home and life is paid for you have the luxury of finding out who you are, these girls didn’t decided to hide, they were out there taking the blows back even in their teens, when simply a man with breast was and still enough to get you killed for just being who they are. They were on the front lines and in a way in the 90’s the sposkesmodels for the Trans community, for right or for wrong, the visibility they brought to the table we are reaping as a community the benefits today. And to those girls who were brave enough to start our lives being who we are never forget it isn’t that easy to be yourself for everyone. They are countless men and women who for no fault of their own had to come to terms with who they are at their own time and don’t be so quick to discard someone in the trans community do to the fact they didn’t get a chance to understand who they are until late in life. If they are to grow and learn they’ll need the help of those already established in the transgender role to lead the way.
A great milestone has been lifted from the Trans community today, but the work has just begun. We as a community can now move forward but we should move forward together, in unison as one struggle, one purpose, one goal and that is to be the person we know in a our hearts, minds and soul to be. And let the community be a place to come together and not be torn apart.
By Sabrina Samone, T.M.P
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