I Am A Binary Trans Woman Who Wants It Made Clear That Nonbinary People Are Trans!

There has been some nasty discourse lately about how nonbinary people aren’t trans. The “logic” behind that has been mainly that nonbinary people don’t transition – and when it’s pointed out that many nonbinary people do, in fact, socially and/or medically transition, the argument then becomes that nonbinary people aren’t “really” transitioning because they are […]

via Reflections — Almost, Almost

Answering the Phone, April 2018

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I happened to be the person to answer the phone  at the transgender center on a call from a trans man in his fifties. I could hear the tension in his voice, and it was obvious that making that call had been very difficult for him. He told me that he had driven past the center a number of times, but had never quite worked up the courage to come inside.

I was the first trans person he had ever been able to have a conversation with.

He wants to come out, but is scared to death. He goes to the Metropolitan Community Church, but when he started hinting about possibly being trans to other church members, a couple of the lesbians—he previously presented as lesbian– ridiculed him in a pretty nasty way, so he stopped talking about it. He told me that his dysphoria in being forced to live in an inauthentic way has gotten so bad that he  has been thinking of killing himself.

I probably spent an hour talking to him. I urged him to come to the trans masculine support group. He didn’t want to because he says he looks feminine. I think this is someone who has been ridiculed a lot. I told him that no one in the group would care what he looks like and that everyone there would want to help him. I told him that he is family and should come and meet us. I told him we care about him. I told him that coming out and living as trans is very hard, but that it is easier than living as someone you are not.

By the end of the call he said he felt much better. There are aspects of his experience that I, as a trans woman, do not understand, which is why I worked to hard to get him to his peers. He said he would come in.

Hope.  We all need a little hope.

It was a good day!

 

 

Friday Night At the Bar, April 2018

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Friday after work at the transgender center, I went out with a friend for a drink at a gay bar here in town. I’ve been in there before. It’s a nice bar, but I don’t see much point in frequenting the establishment because (a) I am a mostly special-occasion consumer of alcohol (Friday I had ginger ale) and (b) most of the patrons are cisgender gay men with a sprinkling of cisgender lesbians with no other trans people in sight.
I don’t find being the token trans woman (see? we’re broad minded and progressive!) in an LGB group all that appealing. Been there, done that.
(I have actually heard drag queens (who are almost exclusively cisgender gay men, by the way) brag about how open minded they were because they had a trans woman (gasp!) as part of the lineup for the evening’s entertainment.
Anyway, my friend wanted to sit and drink and talk, but she was nervous about doing it in a straight bar, so off we went. They already knew my friend, who is a frequent patron, was trans and associated with the trans center. Being with her outed me by association, although my purse-carrying would probably have done it as well since that makes it unlikely that I’m lesbian and narrows the possibilities.
(A few years into living full time as me and marinating in the feminizing hormone cocktail, I have on several occasions gotten read as a lipstick lesbian when I was with someone noticeably less femme than I am.)
The bar employees were very nice. They addressed us as “ladies” and could not have been more accommodating. Within living memory, trans people were not allowed in many gay bars, and I think they were making a point that it was OK for us to be there.
I had a couple of interesting exchanges with cisgender gay men at the bar. LGB folks can be as clueless about us as straight people. I think those guys saw the two of us as really, really, really gay men (wrong! so very wrong!) who live in perpetual drag, even though many of us prefer cisgender female partners.
Oh, for the record, I was wearing women’s jeans, a tunic, and ballet flats, not an evening gown, a bouffant wig, and six-inch heels! And I have the same reasons for needing the bra I was wearing as does a cisgender woman.
But it was fun. I might even go back. But I’m ordering soft drinks!

What Screenplay Writers Think of Trans Characters

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Notes in screenplays show that writers often have a good deal of contempt for the trans characters they create. With almost no exceptions–and this includes movies that won major awards such as The Danish Girl–trans characters are seen not as human beings struggling with an incredibly difficult existential dilemma, but as members of a freak show that can be used to entertain the ignorant and insensitive, which often includes those who write the screenplay.

I have reached a point where I don’t think that cisgender writers ought to create trans characters if those characters are more than briefly passing through a story.

I sometimes write fiction and have completed two novels and some short stories. As someone who knows a bit about writing, let me observe that because I am not African-American I would never feel competent to write about the inner lives of those who have lived that experience in a racist society such as ours. I’m not that arrogant.

https://slate.com/culture/2018/04/how-trans-characters-were-described-in-screenplays.html

When You’re Smiling, When You’re Smiling . . .

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First of all, in case there is anyone reading this who has never presented as anything but a male, let me ask: have you heard about that business where, if you are a woman, men you encounter in public spaces feel free to pretty much order you to smile?

Let me assure you that it is, as the kids say, a “thing.” I’ve experienced it myself on a few occasions from men in the 50+ age range.

I smile more than Dead Name did, but smiling being read as more feminine in this society is a very small part of why I do.

Often I don’t even realize I’m smiling unless I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror in a department store or something.

I smile a lot more than Dead Name did, but it’s mainly because, although it’s both difficult and dangerous to be a trans woman in this hate-based society, I am so, so much happier than he was!!!

 

 

 

Please Boycott the Film “Anything”

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Please boycott the movie “Anything.”

Hollywood keeps perpetuating the myth that transgender women are cisgender men in drag who look and act  like someone’s hairy, straight husband on Halloween. This is a myth that can get us killed because straight men are often dangerous. We’re not.

At our holiday party a few months back, the staff and volunteers from the trans center and some sister organizations, their spouses, partners, dates, and kids took over one end of a large restaurant. There were over 30 in our party; most of the adults (and a couple of the kids and teens) were trans.

The other diners didn’t notice. We looked like an ordinary large holiday office party (in our case, it was a non-profit), which is exactly what we were.

One of our cisgender social workers brought her husband. She introduced me, a tastefully dressed older trans woman, to him. I smiled and said hello. He just stared at me with his mouth and eyes open.

I was not what he was expecting! I guess I didn’t look trans enough.

If you want to see an honest film about a trans woman, check out A Fantastic Woman.

“Jen Richards describes being told that she doesn’t look transgender enough to play a transgender person on film, even though she is in fact transgender.

“They said you don’t look trans enough,” my agent told me over the phone, “What the hell does that mean?”

I laughed. I was finally joining the club that included my friends Angelica Ross, Trace Lysette, Rain Valdez, Jamie Clayton, and Alexandra Grey.

“It means that they want the audience to know the character is trans just by looking at her,” I explained, “And in their mind that means a guy in a wig.”

 

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/04/transgender-activists-want-people-boycott-film-anything/

Book Alert! Female by Pilar Vergara

 

“The photographer, who lives in New York City, rose to prominence as a human rights photographer in Chile during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. She has spent her career focusing on the most marginalized and misunderstood members of society. She said her lifelong dedication to human rights is what inspired her to photograph women who are trans.

Vergara said the portraits in “Female” give no impression that her subjects are anything other than women.”

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/female-captures-uniqueness-diversity-trans-women-through-photography-n865146