To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{July 22, 2011}   To trans or not to trans, that is the question!

There is this constant debate among the femme community, with people pretty much coming down very strongly on either side, about whether or not femme can be applied to bi or het women, or men of any shape, size, or sexuality. It basically comes down to two arguments, boiled down thusly:

1. Of course, because we’re trying to be inclusive and (my own opinion, here) if we’re saying gender shouldn’t be linked to what body you’re born into, then it also shouldn’t be forced on you because of your sexuality.

2. Lesbian/Queer femme is already a minority: get your damn straight-woman or male-of-any-sort hands off my gender; I have enough areas in which I’m overlooked! Don’t appropriate this one! (I actually quite understand this; it tends to be my emotional reaction. Then my hyper-sensitive sense of morality kicks in, and I realize I don’t really agree with this one…)

Got that? Good.

Now, when I was first looking at femme, I kept seeing how femme and butch were transgenders. They were transgressing gender boundaries; ergo, trans. I learned initially that transgender referred to a person transgressing gender boundaries, which could refer to femme or butch or andro or FTM or MTF or anyone inbetween. I also learned that transsexual meant specifically FTM or MTF.

Since then, through experience I’ve learned that those terms are far from agreed upon, and we, as humans, tend to boil things down to the easiest way of saying it: trans, whether it’s transgressing or transitioning.

All this makes me wonder: do FTM and MTF folks have that same, “stop appropriating my shit!” reaction? I’d think they have much more reason to, to be honest (starting with the fact that, uh, they coined it). I’ve always felt a little strange saying I’m trans (even though I leaped on it initially) because, well, my trans path is VERY DIFFERENT than an FTM/MTF’s trans path. At the same time, I don’t want my trans experience swallowed up into the more socially-fascinating FTM/MTF trans experience. That’s not me; we are totally different ends of the spectrum, only very distantly related if related at all.

I almost feel like we need a different term. Leave trans where it belongs, with the people who used it first: those people who are actually transitioning. I’d rather have a label of my own, to show I’m transgressing gender boundaries.

…I have no idea what that label might be, mind you. But it’s something else I’ve been thinking about.

JB

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[…] this challenges my earlier assertion that anyone can be femme, because part of my very definition is that femmes are queer. A big part of it, in […]



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