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View Diary: Another dead transwoman of color…this time in Philadelphia (again) (24 comments)

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  •  No. (2+ / 0-)
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    rserven, jessical

    I'm not writing anybody off and I have real world friends that I'd known before they transitioned. I did not question their decision.  I do not question your decision.

    I understand that there are legitimate reasons for cutting into a healthy body. All of them still leave scars.

    A certain famous actress is sleeping better knowing that her breast tissue won't be around to almost certainly develop cancerous tumors.

    Even healthy tissue can fester in your thoughts.

    Nobody I know with a tattoo considers that "mutilation" either. What we each consider "normal" is a matter of perspective. My perspective is an extreme one. I call a lot of things "mutilation" that the vast majority of people call "normal". I understand that I'm an opinionated twit that babbles on and on and on until quite gentle people tell me to just shut up already.

    So, on I go ...

    People do what they have to in this world to survive and if you wake up every morning thinking that something is wrong with your own body then what can you do about it? Turns out that changing the body is easier than changing the mind. Especially when there's a collective mind and all that binary baggage demanding that something is wrong with us.

    We do the best we can with what we have.

    This is a subject better suited to talk over a tavern table but please know that the last thing I'd do is condemn anyone for the choices they've made to be able to live with their own bodies or to simply survive in our broken society. A person's own body is sacrosanct. This is also why I fully support the right to abortion.

    I do still however believe that if our society was truly tolerant and accepting that no-one would grow up feeling like a stranger in their own body.

    I grew up listening to Marlo Thomas records.  

    I've talked with people about the relief they felt after they finally began their surgeries and the wonder they felt at how each procedure changed the way they felt about themselves.

    That's a good thing!

    The operations helped. That's all that matters.

    It may seem from my blitherings above that I'm implying that trans-people are "misguided fools reinforcing a bad system" but folks that know me better understand that my scorn is entirely reserved for the bad system. Society needs to recognize trans-people as simply "people" and accept all people in whatever gender or sex role they choose for themselves. That's civil rights. That's "... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Sex and gender, like race-- in an ideal world shouldn't matter. We don't live in that world. In our world most public toilets are still segregated behind a binary set of doors.

    I'm glad that medical science has developed to the point where people who were previously torn apart inside can be made to feel whole again.

    That's healing.

    Can I still see that as "mutilation"-- um, yes (I know, I know-- I'm crazy. You should hear me rant about make-up and hair dye sometime. Or maybe you shouldn't-- it's not pleasant). Can I still fight for your right to do it? Can I still fight for the right of every person to make choices about their own sex and their own gender?

    Yes.

    •  Well (2+ / 0-)
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      Marko the Werelynx, rserven

      I think we all nuance our places in this differently.

      I also think words matter, and when the private and public use of a word are different "for people who know me", then there are...at least...a few complicated things at play.  As you say, everyone is different, and we all have personal reasons for how we frame stuff, to ourselves and the world.  In my life, there are places I do not go, in my very queer neighborhood, because the wink-wink nudge-nudge discourse would find your framing very acceptable and forward thinking, and my very existence grotesque. You seem like a very nice person, and I have no way to really know where you are coming from -- so, well, just informing you.  Intent aside, it all fits into a very nice narrative and folks like me are on the outside of it.

      But y'know, I might argue that hacking the phenotypic expression of my genome -- hormones and surgery both -- is it's own deconstruction of the binary.  And yes, of course...everything leaves scars.  But I also think that surgical change is part of a very old way to be trans which has existed in many human cultures, albeit without the very nice features of present medical technologies.  This not something barely understandable I just did to be happy because the unhappy was so big -- it is a way to be human.  

      Anyway.

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 04:12:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are so, so right. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jessical, rserven

        I should be more sensitive about my use of language. Words do indeed matter. They matter a great deal. Like the joy of pronouns that trans-people have to deal with from people who knew them before they transitioned and from the insensitive types who refuse to accept trans-people as they wish to be identified.

        Friends of mine just had their little boy's ears pinned back. He starts first grade next year and his ears stuck out from his head like handles on a trophy cup. A little pain and what I would call mutilation and he can go to school and not be teased about his ears. His parents know they did the right thing because they lived through the cruelty of their own classmates. A bit of mutilation is a small price to pay for normality.

        I couldn't have done that for my own children. And that also gives me pause to consider my odd extremism. It doesn't seem to help anyone and it sure hasn't changed the world.

        I liked this bit particularly:

        I might argue that hacking the phenotypic expression of my genome -- hormones and surgery both -- is it's own deconstruction of the binary.
        It made me imagine that you were bridging the binary. Or maybe just jumping clean over the gap between the sides as if to say that the gap itself was nothing.

        I do hope medical science continues to make advances in reassignment surgery. I think it's still much too primitive. I was thinking that with current advances in creating tissue and stem cell manipulation that I may just see surgery so complete that further hormone therapy would be redundant. They're already working on growing new internal organs from stem cells-- why not ovaries and testes?

        Thanks for taking the time to engage with me on this personal and complicated subject. I know we've bumped elbows in other threads around here. Henceforth I'll be more careful about my flippant misuse of words like "mutilation" -- at least, without my overbearing tonnage of nuanced explanation I'm just blundering about stomping on toes.

        I always was a clumsy dancer.

        •  Something I've said before... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Marko the Werelynx, rserven

          ...(sorry Robyn)...I think that trans folks hear over and over "you aren't real" and largely as a result of that, there are some very defensive frames on being trans out there.  In my case, I'm pretty f*ing genderqueer, overall...it's just, I'm genderqueer with all the medical stuff.  We're all different, to spite our commonalities.  I think that trans women who go through "transition" as such often end up with some heavy perspectives on the binary generally.  Some embrace it and some totally flip it off.  For myself -- like most women I think, trans and not --I have an ambiguous relationship with the ways our culture handles gender.  It's not static and it's seldom straightforward.  I work hard to keep it from being too baggage laden, and only partially succeed.  And, again, am not unique

          But, y'know, to spite my many shortcomings in life, I have the luxury to contemplate such things from behind my macbook, while getting ready for a Sunday morning business meeting.  Young transwomen of color generally don't, and the intersection of race, class and gender seems quite deadly.  It all counts, all this stuff, but...I think we need jobs, and we need access to education, and we need to do a lot better at reaching from queer communities across barriers of race and class.  In the end, I actually don't care that much how badly I kinda squick someone, if we've got their vote and support for ENDA and job training and housing discrimination issues.

          You dance fine, hon.

          ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

          by jessical on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:06:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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