Monday, January 25, 2010

Give Me A Break!

Sometimes the extent of self-deception some seem to exhibit is amazing. I just read a posting on Bilerico by "Cassandra Keenan," a person who claims to be a "pre-op male to female transsexual," on the question of whether or not men who date "trans chicks" are straight or gay. Now, setting aside the issues I have with someone who would refer to their self as a "trans chick," I was interested in finding out what this person's take would be.

By and large, Keenan seems to try to avoid taking a position. I suspect this is simply a matter of avoiding the truth. I know I had to face this question during my transition. In my case, I quickly realized that there are a lot of men who such as those Keenan describes:
The guys I go out with self-identify as straight. In fact, a number of them were in heterosexual marriages previously and fathered kids. Yet, they are attracted to me. And this happens a lot. Meaning, it's widespread and common -- at least in my experience.
Now, they may claim to be straight, and some of them may really, really believe they are. Shoot, a lot of men who wanted to date me were married. I would wind up politely declining, but I found this strange. But I also quickly realized these men were not really interested in me, but were wanting to date a "woman with a penis," to put it nicely. I was just a fetish for them.

Were they gay? Perhaps not in the sense that the term is usually used, but they were certainly clearly interested in a homosexual relationship. I suppose some could be called bisexual, though many of them made it clear that they did not want me to pursue surgery. It did not take too long before I simply stopped dating until after my surgery.

Since my surgery, no one I have had sex with has known my past. I was not interested in dating a man who was interested in me because I had a penis. If I had really believed they were able to see past that, I would have felt differently, but I quickly realized that was not the case.

Keenan tries to fudge and suggest that we either need to redefine heterosexuality to ignore the issue of body parts (heteroflexible?), or perhaps abandon the concept of sexual orientation labels. I would offer a simpler solution...face the fact that the men who are pursuing you are doing so because you have a penis, and decide if you like that (in which case you are not transsexual and should probably not have surgery) or that you don't (in which case celibacy until being post-op is the only viable choice). But telling yourself that this men really, really see you as a "real woman" is delusional.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Curious Case of Amanda Simpson

Much has been written in the TG blogosphere about Amanda Simpson, the former test pilot that President Obama appointed to be Senior Technical Advisor For The U.S. Bureau Of Industry And Security. Of course, they all focus on the fact that Simpson is "transgender." The first articles celebrated this as a major triumph. Then there was a lot of reaction to the negative comments that were made by various groups.Much has been written in the TG blogosphere about Amanda Simpson, the former test pilot that President Obama appointed to be Senior Technical Advisor For The U.S. Bureau Of Industry And Security. Of course, they all focus on the fact that Simpson is "transgender." The first articles celebrated this as a major triumph. Then there was a lot of reaction to the negative comments that were made by various groups.

But something written by Gwen Smith, a columnist for several LGBT newspapers made me wonder about all this:
For myself, I applaud Simpson for all the facets of her life and all the skills that have allowed her this opportunity – and I look forward to the day when one's transgender status is simply another part of the rich fabric of one's life.
This got me to did people find out that Simpson is "transgender?" Ironically, it appears that it is possible that Simpson was simply appointed to the position, and just happens to be transgender. I mean, as far as I can tell, the Obama administration was not the source of this bit of information. So, who spilled the beans?

Well, it seems that the story became national news after it appeared in the blog Political Punch on the ABC News website. So, how did they find out that Simpson was "transgender?" The answer, quite simply, is that Simpson announced this on the National Center for Transgender Equality website:
In a statement, Simpson, a member of the National Center for Transgender Equality's board of directors, said that "as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others.
Simpson is the one who drew attention to Obama having appointed someone who was "transgender." Of course, this is Simpson't right to do, but it is also classic "transgender" behavior. Simpson clearly has no real desire to simply be a woman. Simpson, instead feels the need to be known as someone who was born a male, and who had a long and successful career as a man.

While I don't agree with some of the nastier remarks made by some, I cannot help but note that once again, someone who identifies as "transgender" feels the need to be "in your face" about who they used to be. And that makes it hard to defend them from the attacks they receive.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Very Good Question...

This week brings yet another post on Bilerico. Interestingly enough, this one, which was posted in reaction to Bil Browning's heavy handed attempt to silence those who endorse the HBS model raises an interesting question, "Should We Scrap the Word "Transgender"?"

Actually, that is not really the real question addressed in this article. It would have better worded as, "Should we continue to impose the term transgender on those who object?" The author, Dr. Jillian T. Weiss (Dr. Weiss is a law professor) makes the following comment:
Some transsexuals argue that biological studies indicate some differences between the brains of transsexuals and the sex attributed to them at birth. "Classic" or "true" transsexuals is sometimes a term used to refer to people who feel gender variant from a very young age, exhibit behavior and characteristics stereotypically attributed to the opposite sex from a young age (3-6 yrs), and who see to live as the opposite sex as soon as possible. When sex reassignment surgery was in its infancy, these were the only people allowed to access it.
Now, while I find the term "gender variant" to be highly insulting, I otherwise agree with this definition. This is a pretty good description of what many of us experienced.

But then, Dr. Weiss goes on off in a very disturbing direction:
At this point in time, however, many people have come to the realization that one does not necessarily need to exhibit these very specific circumstances in order to be a good candidate for sex reassignment surgery. Others have also expressed the feeling that, even though they do have these characteristics, they do not want or need sex reassignment surgery. They are happy to live part-time or full-time in a different gender role without such surgical intervention. They may or may not take cross-gender hormones. They are perfectly happy the way they are.
I am not sure who these "people" are, but I fear that they are seriously mistaken. I have encountered more than a few of these supposedly good candidates for surgery, both on-line and off. They tend, in many cases, to be anything but successful in their transitions. And while there are some, who may have been somewhat effeminate or butch as a child, if they do not have an overwhelming desire to pursue transition and surgical correction then, as was pointed out in an excellent article on this same subject at Enough Non-Sense, they have nothing in common with true or classic transsexuals.

Dr. Weiss does seem to understand, and acknowledge, that many do not like to be labeled as transgender. I am one of those who objects strongly to that term. But scrapping "transgender" is not the answer, unless one is going to return to more specific terms for everyone. I have no problem with those who identify as "transgender" calling themselves that. While I think it is a seriously flawed term, as I do not believe that gender can be changed, since I personally do not identify that way it is not my place to dictate what they can call themselves.

What is needed is to simply leave transsexuals or people with HBS alone. Stop trying to drag us into the political schemes of those who are transgender. They can demand the right to be able to claim to be a different sex without surgery...and I, and others can loudly disagree. Shoot, they can even argue that they should have rights, but not true transsexuals for all I care. I doubt they will win. Let them make all their silly claims, but leave transsexuals out of it. As one commenter puts it:

I only see two solutions to change the public perception:

1) Convince the public that anatomical males who "feel female inside" are ordinary women who should have access to women's spaces and legal status


2) Allow only anatomical females access to female spaces and legal status, and make sure the public is aware of this restriction when passing bills, etc.

I have little hope for #1.

Ultimately, that is what this comes down to. While I do believe that provision should be made for those seriously pursuing surgical correction, who have a legitimate diagnosis of true transsexualism or HBS during the Real Life Test, I do not support the first option.