To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{February 12, 2014}   Changes

Well, I’m getting married!

Q asked me to marry her just before Christmas, and I said yes. We tie the knot next February, on the anniversary of our first date (so I only have to remember one anniversary). After that, I’ll stay in my house and she’ll stay in her house and we’re good. ūüėÄ

Most people I’ve told this to have been like, “Coolio!” The people who don’t say “Coolio!” though, really freak out. It seems I’ve been freaking people out all my life, so that’s all normal. Suffice to say, we’ve got this covered. ¬†ūüėČ

It’s quite the jump to go from commitment phobic to getting married. It only took us 4 years. *grins* Five by the time we actually get married! What’s fun is that the law will even acknowledge it now. WOO HOO!

That’s not the only change going on, though. The other big change is that Q has started taking testosterone to look more masculine. She says she doesn’t feel like a man, but she doesn’t feel like a woman. Within about a month of T she started growing facial hair. I figure as muscle develops (she’s started hitting the gym) and hair grows in, and then when she gets top surgery, people will start calling her him, and I’ll switch over. I’ve already started referring to my boyfriend here and there.

She’s having her own things with all this, but I can’t speak for that. What I can speak of is my end of things, supporting my wonderful honey in the changes she needs to make, muddling through my own identity as, to the outside world, it starts to change, and what it’s like.

So far, I’m surprised at how okay everything has been. It’s helped that she didn’t say, “I am a man,” but rather, “I’m somewhere in between, so the pronouns don’t matter.” In fact, when she realized that for herself it lifted a HUGE weight off me. I was no longer looking at seeming straight to the rest of the world. I could continue to use whichever pronouns. Now, I’m getting eased into it, and that’s easier for me. In the end I’m sure effectively the world will see me as straight, but this way I can wade in slowly instead of diving into the deep end.

(I also have to take a moment to say that I REALLY appreciate her support of me, while I’m supporting her. She’s realized this will affect me, too, and has been very aware and we’ve had lots of conversations on it.)

Initially, when Q was thinking she was a man (before she realized that didn’t quite fit, either), Q was saying she wouldn’t ever wanted to be outed as trans. I was really struggling with that, because it was one way for me to continue to claim my own sexual identity. I was at war within myself: part of me wants to support Q and be a good ally, and knows that outing trans* people is, at best, indicative of transphobia in our society. I’m not sure where my outing someone would fall, given my reasons, but it doesn’t matter: it would be encouraging that attitude in society in general. The other part of me wanted to keep my sexual identity. It is as much a part of me as being a man is part of her.

In the end, as stated, Q decided that she was neither man nor woman but somewhere in between, so it became a moot point. (How we’ll maneuver going forward will be something that we have to see as we go.) Since then, there really hasn’t been anything that’s made me hesitate. I kind of am suspicious about how easy it’s been for me, in fact. I keep waiting for something to hit me like a ton of bricks.

Anyway. The allied femme’s intimate dealing with trans in an SO. I’ll attempt to keep you all updated more than once every six months. ūüėČ

JB

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I used to watch Doris Day’s Calamity Jane obsessively when I was young. Especially every time I got sick. I was in love with her, in a “I want to be her” sort of way. Here’s a snippet:

It was full of gayness, including accidental cross-dressing. (You can rent it for $2 from Youtube, apparently. It would be a $2 well spent, I’m just sayin’.)

When I moved to Canada at 20, long before I figured out my own sexual and gender identity, I had to leave it home. I didn’t see it again until years later — probably ten years later, when my sister bought it for me for Christmas. By that time I’d figured out both the lesbian/butch attraction and the femme bit.

Watching the movie again nearly made my jaw drop. Calamity Jane both was me, and was who I wanted to be. She’s got a temper that drives her into doing stupid things (though mine’s under control now), she sticks up for the underdog even when it puts her at great risk, she’s got this super rough, tomboy, cowgirl exterior, and she really wants someone to see that she’s beautiful under it all. She wants love and doesn’t know how to go about getting it, because so many people saw the tomboy and not the girl (this is less me: people generally saw the girl, but I had a hard time realizing that). She’s strong, she’s a hero, and she still wants rescuing. She’s rough and practical on the outside, but she cleans up and wants to be a¬†girl.

She’s me, as a femme.

It’s funny: for all her tomboyishness, she never came across as butch to me, either. I think it’s Doris Day’s feminine energy under all that faux-rawhide!

When I saw it again after so many years, I watched in absolute fascination. Here were the answers I’d been looking for just a few years earlier, when I started this blog, trying to figure out how I could be femme and yet not be a high femme or wear dresses all the time. In short, be femme and still be a tomboy. Here it was, the answer I’d watched over and over as kid, wishing I were her.

It makes me think that even as a kid, I identified with her. Maybe my subconscious was trying to help me out. ūüėČ Now, if only she’d been attracted to butches… I might have figured it out that much faster! ;-D

JB



{June 19, 2012}   Father’s Day

A couple of weeks back, S (Q’s 8-year-old daughter) looked up at Q and said, “Should we get you father’s day cards?”

Now, I wasn’t actually there for the conversation, but it was relayed to me thusly:

S: Should we get you father’s day cards?
Q: Well… I suppose you could… why do you ask?
S: Because even though you have a girl’s body, you’re more like ¬†a dad.

She was right! Kids are smart like that. They’re not all caught up in ‘supposed-to’s like the rest of us are. ¬†A few days later I picked them up from school (something that only happens rarely), and asked them if they still wanted to get their Mutti a father’s day card. To resounding yeses, we headed to CVS. J (Q’s son) went through several cards before finally, frowning at me, said, “These all say ‘father.’ But she’s our Mutti.” I told him it was okay, she’d understand, and we could always cross “father” out and write “mutti” instead. Apparently¬†satisfied¬†with this answer, they both picked out cards and then announced we should get Q a present, too. They bought Reeces Cups with their own money, and off we went.

Q gets a little resentful over mother’s day because people forget about her. She sends cards and well wishes to her friends, butch and andro alike (I believe I’m pretty much the only femme in her life), but doesn’t get any back. Last year her brother sent her flowers, which was a BIG deal. Then again, I wonder how many people remember at all. I send a card to my folks on their respective days, but not anyone else. Hmmm.

It also occurred to me that in another couple of years, I might well be “eligible” to be getting mother’s day cards of my own. That kinda freaked me out. I think I wouldn’t mind if everyone forgot. >.>

It’s funny; I was also the one kid in the family who DID NOT WANT KIDS, KTHNX. And I’m the first one to end up with them… This amuses me, though I’m still not sure it counts as they’re part-time kids. Also, I didn’t have to deal with any of the crappy baby ages. (I know lots of people say that’s their favorite part, but I like kids best once they hit 7 or 8. Then you can DO STUFF with them!)

Anyway, now I’m starting to ramble. Life continues on.

J



I got an email from a friend this morning, an extremely awesome friend, that basically said this:

“You do realize that your post is like, “I’m not transphobic, but…””

It went on eloquently, but that about sums it up. (I have great regard for this friend’s ability to put things totally bluntly, without making me feel attacked, like a terrible person, and without her sounding like a bitch or condescending. I wish I had that ability, but I don’t think I do.)

Anyway, in emailing her back, a few things occurred to me.

1. I would have no problem with this if we were showing many types of bodies as beautiful, and this were just another one. But,

2. as I saw it, we were just extending the already-almost-unattainable body into a completely-unattainable-body.

As I was explaining this, I said that while I felt it was morally wrong to say what I was saying, practically speaking I didn’t want to be showing young girls something that they couldn’t possibly ever do on a skeletal¬†level as the standard of beauty.

This is when somehting occurred to me. Except for the 5% of people who are born with that model body type, we are¬†already¬†showing young girls something they can’t possibly do on a skeletal level. We’re already having to play damage control because it’s already impossible. Not almost impossible, but totally impossible for 95% of the population. I’m sure there is another 5% of the population that has a very male body type; no hips, broad chest and shoulders, etc. (They still aren’t going to have the muscles along the abdomen that men have, but an MTF modeling is going to have issues a cis-woman doesn’t anyway, so it’s ¬†a wash IMO.) ¬†If we have an MTF modeling, then at least those girls (and also the other girls born in male bodies) have a representative, too.

What we need to be doing is adding more body types into what’s considered beautiful. While I wouldn’t have chosen a body type that’s an extreme of what we already have, that also doesn’t mean we should exclude it. This is one of those two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right moments. Saying, “We need other body types¬†but not that one” is bullshit. I call bullshit on myself.

I feel much better now. I have two centers of what’s right and wrong: my head and my heart. My heart always figures it out first, but until my head figures it out, too, things don’t work well. Now I’ve got both lined up. Woo hoo!

So I can say without reservations, go Jenna! (The model. Not me.) And also – Thanks, Momo. You rock my socks.

J



Has everyone seen this? To sum up: a MTF model fought to get into the Canadian Beauty Pagent and won! (Won the fight; the pageant will have probably been decided by the time this posts, but as if this writing she’s in the top 5.)

The queer part of me is like YES THAT IS SO TOTALLY AWESOME (and at the same time, OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I WANT TO GIVE DONALD TRUMP A PAT ON THE BACK), but the feminist part (the bit that’s not frothing at the mouth over the fact that we have these at all, and that 60% of the points are based¬†solely¬†on¬†appearance) is kind of scared.

I do think transgendered folks ought to go into whatever beauty contests they like and whatever else they like as their correct gender.

I also think it’s kind of terrifying that the notion of womanly beauty is… a cis-male body. A surgically altered cis-male body, yes. An extremely lean cis-male body, yes. But it’s still a cis-male body. The muscle and bone structure are different than in a cis-female body — that little belly pooch that women have to hold reproductive organs, for instance, that pooch that we’re already taught is bad, is gone. The body fat percentage that covers those muscles is gone. The muscles themselves develop more obviously, the collarbones go straight across instead of angling downward, the shoulders are broader, the legs are longer, curves are less pronounced (ribcage is broader and pelvis is narrower), body fat isn’t¬†distributed¬†on butt and hips, the alignment of the stomach muscles is notably different, there are in fact muscles over the hips and below the obliques that women don’t even have¬†— there’s ¬†a bunch of stuff like that.

In short, the things we’re already taught are bad in women aren’t even there to begin with — because it’s not a cis-female body! Now we’re being told that really what we need to look like are lean cis-male bodies with boobs and vaginas. (Kudos to Jenna’s doctor, though, because they don’t look like Barbie boobs. Presumably good doctors can do that, now.) (I cannot believe spellcheck is telling me there’s no such word as vaginas. *sighs*) (Also, good name choice there, Jenna! :D)

So… yeah. It disturbs me that this is the person modeling for women as what we should look like, even more than cis-female models who’ve undergone surgery.

(Photoshop makes me just as disturbed as this does.)

On the other hand… I can’t say it’s right not to allow transgender folks to model, either. It’s just very fucked up. ūüė¶

J



{March 7, 2012}   Trans and sexism

I’ve been thinking about that last trans post I made, and the comments (which I thought about a great deal, and started a hugely long post on, but… then I got busy and never finished it, and it all boils down to what I’m about to say, anyway).

You know what I’ve realized? I don’t think this is a trans reaction I’m having. I think it’s a sexist reaction. Now, I do my best not to be sexist, but cultural sexism is rampant in everyone. Including me, much as I try to keep purging it. I don’t think it’s so much that I look at types of trans and see different genders, as it is I look at “man” and have specific, sexist ideas of what that is. If something doesn’t fit it, it is therefore “not man” and needs another category.

Now that I realize that, I can start working on it.

It does make me wonder, though: how do we define gender? Most definitions say something along the lines of, “Gender can be identified by the dress, behavior, and speech of an individual.” But we’re breaking those rules, now. So… what DOES make a gender? The way someone feels? I mean, that’s how I define my gender… but then, most people have no clue that my gender is femme, as opposed to woman. How do you differentiate femme from woman? Heck, most femmes I know can’t. It’s a feeling.

So if gender is a feeling, and there are no definitions, then how does one say, “I’m attracted to women” or “I’m attracted to butches”? If the ultimate goal is to break down the definitions, then we’re also breaking down an important way to navigate the world. But if we don’t… then you get problems like mine, above, where the ‘man’ gender has gender rules, and if someone doesn’t fit them then I’m not categorizing them correctly, and sexism is born.

This is what I’ve been mulling over.

J

 



{December 26, 2011}   Trans and Gender

I’ve been watching my trans friends and acquaintances lately (it strikes me that I know FAR more trans folk than femmes, and I can’t decide if this is annoying or hilarious), and noticing something else: some of them seem to be men. Some of them seem to be trans.

Did that make sense? Every time I see my acquaintance S, I’m surprised to remember he was born female. To my knowledge, he’s entirely pre-op, but everything about him screams, “MAN.” (“Dick,” also, but that’s because I know what he did to my friend. >.>) It’s the way he moves and the way he talks… right until he says something that throws me for a loop. Usually some great excitement and he’s suddenly not-man for an instant, only I don’t think of him as feminine because it doesn’t quite seem feminine, either, I think of him as trans. (This is happening less and less over the last six months. Of course, I haven’t been¬†talking¬†to him much over the last six months, but… I can still hear him laugh when we’re in a group, and even that sounds more masculine.) Anyway; in my head, he’s a guy.

Then there’s the friends who are just starting their own trans process, and they have moments where they seem very masculine, and moments where they seem very… trans. Does that make sense? I think it might be insulting, and I’m¬†extremely¬†sorry if that’s the case. I think it’s probably one of those, “They say they are men, ergo they are men,” moments. Which I completely agree with. And at the same time, in my head their gender is transman.

Sometimes I feel a little crazy. It always makes me feel a little bad.

But then there are the transmen who seem to glory in being transmen, and have no interest in being men. They refer to themselves as transmen and they’re in that in between gender state; neither man nor woman, but something else entirely. That’s what I think of as trans.

I don’t know. It makes my head hurt. It kinda makes my heart hurt, too, because I suspect it’s disrespectful in¬†some¬†way, shape, or form, even if I don’t quite understand it. But I can’t understand it if I never talk or ask about it, can I? Cripes, this is like asking people to shoot me down… BUT… talk to me, folks. Is this normal? Can trans people out there tell me what’s up in my head in regards to gender and transman vs man? Or are there more genders being created that I don’t know about? Or is it just a learning curve? Because I definitely don’t know.

On a much funnier note, Q had shoulder surgery (it’s all good now!), and we got come on her sling. *snickers* It’s a black sling. Hilariously, it says “hand wash only,” and given whoever wearing it apparently has only one working hand… I think it’s a cruel joke!

J



{December 22, 2011}   Femme as a Gender

Wow. I started this post in AUGUST, you people. Jesus, my life is entirely too busy. *sighs*

So, Q is more knowledgeable than me about general women’s studies, but I’m more knowledgeable than her about femme specifically. Given she’s not femme, this makes sense to me. ūüėČ After one of my posts, she was asking me about femme as a gender and why it was transgressing gender boundaries, and I was trying to explain it. This is, edited, what I wrote:

I had a guy friend once say to me, “No matter what else, you can always claim ‘woman’ as an identity.” At the time I hadn’t even heard of femme, and had no idea about gender identity. Still, I was appalled and offended that he’d apply ‘woman’ to me. I couldn’t say why, only that, like you say, it didn’t fit. It makes me feel twitchy and horrible. When people refer to me as a woman I generally want to slap them. I don’t, because they don’t understand why, but it makes me feel awful.

Femme is a gender separate than ‘woman.’ (Let’s just say that if I’m going to refer to biological sex, I’ll say ‘male’ or ‘female’ — otherwise I’m talking about the genders. :)) You kind of have to just start there — there isn’t any easy “here is what makes something a gender” sort of definition. What makes femme transgressing gender boundaries is… well, there’s lots.

The first thing that most femmes point to is the fact that it breaks the patriarchal hold on things. Femmes dress up and look nice NOT to attract or please men, but to attract or please other women, which is the first gender boundary broken.

Femmes also do it, much like butches, in the face of great prejudice from other lesbians: butches get attacked by hard-core feminist lesbians for giving into the male stereotype, but so do femmes. Just like butches, they’re seen as “selling out,” which isn’t something “normal” women have to deal with from other women. Straight women are expected to be feminine and it’s applauded if they are, and gay women are, mostly, expected to be really andro. So here, femme is transgressing gender boundaries; women as a gender aren’t dealing with discrimination for looking pretty, but femmes as a gender are.

There’s also a power difference between femmes and women. I’ve gotten pretty damn good at spotting a femme when I walk into a room, even if they’re not “high” femme. N is an obvious femme, for instance, even when she cowgirls up. Those women who, whether or not they look all girlish, are feminine in some way (even if it’s a tomboy way), but have that underlying steel are almost always femme. Femmes, when they state a preference, are typically deferred to. This is another of the gender boundaries that are broken. Women – lesbian and otherwise – tend to defer to masculine-centered people, but masculine-centered people tend to defer to femmes.

In a similar¬† trend, while many women are deferred to out of politeness, they are also expected to do “womanly” things. Not true of femmes: femmes might look all feminine, but that doesn’t make them delicate flowers who are restricted in their activities: a feminine woman typically won’t climb a tree in her skirt, or would be frowned upon if she did, but a femme won’t let the skirt stop her, and is generally encouraged in her boisterousness.

There’s a sexual component, too; femmes are seen as more sexual, more sexually powerful, and more sexually dominant in their relationships. You and I are a pretty good example: the majority of the time, your goal seems to be that I come first. ūüėČ In that sense, it’s seen as more important to make sure that the femme enjoys herself; after that it’s the butch’s turn. (Not so cut and dried as that, but I hope you get the idea!) With women and sex, it’s the guy’s privilege to come first, and hopefully he’ll then attend to the woman or let her attend to herself. Think about media: women are still seen as less sexual, less likely to come, and that’s considered okay. It’s not, however, considered okay with femme women. Again, it’s breaking gender boundaries.

Finally, femme takes all the things marked as female, and therefore weak, and makes them powerful. Women in a patriarchal society are seen as second class; femmes, especially in a femme/butch society, are typically first class and often deferred to. Again — by becoming anything other than second class, it breaks gender boundaries.

…[F]emme is typically a female gender, but it’s not the gender of “woman.” It’s gender bending because it’s a different gender on a female body. It’s very similar to woman, just like butch is very similar to FTM, but they’re both different things. Butch and FTM, and femme and women are similar in that they’re very close to each other, and sometimes the lines blur, but they’re still definitely different.

Ironically, 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 fact.

I was reading Butch/Femme: New Considerations of the Way We Want to Go¬†recently, and noticing that they didn’t really seem to have a definition of femme, either. In fact, their biggest definition was that femmes were the counterpart to butches. (Not all of the articles said that; most didn’t touch on definitions at all, but those that did were often of this bent.) Now, this is an older book with older theories, and maybe what I need is some newer reading, but it got me thinking again about what makes femme? And what makes it transgender? Because most of the things I listed above are feminist, rather than femme, and I felt femme long before I understood feminism.

One thing I read over and over is that femme is a conscious act of gender, but I felt femme before I was consciously acting any gender. (I still don’t feel like I’m consciously creating a gender, but rather am expressing what’s always been there. I haven’t changed, I just found the right label.)

I think, though, that the question I really need to start with is: what’s gender? What makes something a gender? Dictionary.com has a lot of useless definitions. So, naturally, I went to Wiki. You want to know what Wiki says? Of course you do.

Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculineand feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity.

Sexologist John Money¬†coined the termgender role¬†in 1955. “The term¬†gender role¬†is used to signify all those things that a person says or does to disclose himself or herself as having the status of boy or man, girl or woman, respectively. It includes, but is not restricted to, sexuality in the sense of eroticism.”[30]¬†Elements of such a role include clothing, speech patterns, movement, occupations, and other factors not limited to biological sex. Because social aspects of gender can normally be presumed to be the ones of interest in sociology and closely related disciplines,¬†gender role¬†is often abbreviated to¬†gender¬†in their literature.

This makes me think I ought to look at this list (“clothing, speech patterns, movement, occupations”) and see if femme (and whatever else I decide to pick on) has its own gender. If it doesn’t, does it matter that it doesn’t fit that list, or does it still qualify as its own gender because it “feels” that way? And back to the oldie but goodie, is gender created or innate? Because it certainly felt innate to me when I stumbled upon femme.

I wish I had more time to read about stuff like this… And to examine that list in regards to femme. I wish I knew more femmes so I could examine them, too. >.> Jeez…

J



{August 28, 2011}   Failing spectacularly

You know, I generally try to be the better person. I try really hard to keep my cool in the face of stupidity and think to myself, “If you attack, they won’t take anything away. If you reason, they might listen.”

(Part of me also then thinks, “No they won’t! Reasoning is for the middle-of-the-road people, not the maniacs who’ve already made up their mind to one extreme or the other!” I’ve read WAY TOO MANY STUDIES on this kind of shit, and sometimes become my own worst enemy.)

But I try to be the better person and keep my cool. When I can’t, I try and walk away. And hey, I’m good at letting claws peek out while I’m smiling, anyway, or at least I think I am.¬† Though, in general, I try to be reasonable and not prick people… though I AM more likely to do it if it’s someone I don’t know. Less respect, less personhood for unknown people, you know? Same reason it’s easy to be an ass to someone online that you’ve never met: they’re faceless.

Anyway. Some (self-identified) masculinized-female is being a dick over in DK’s old blog. DK wrote this in his new blog: “My friends defended my honour and theirs with grace and cutting verbage,” and yeah, it’s definitely Nezu with the grace, because I am certainly not acting with any of that. (I like to think I have cutting verbage. >.>)

…I don’t feel particularly bad about it. I haven’t come right out and name called (though I did use the words “judgemental” “discriminatory” and various other socially-triggering things, but I don’t really care), but I certainly feel like the claws are out.

I have very sharp claws. I generally keep them sheathed, mostly because when I don’t I regret it. Either because I hurt someone and have Guilt, or because I kick myself later for burning bridges, or because I’ve been such a shit that I’m a little horrified at myself. So far, I’ve managed to travel the line that keeps me from being horrified at myself, and I don’t have Guilt.

The last time the claws came out was also over gender issues, on my blog — well, in comments that never made it to my blog, and then email. That person showed up here a while later to lambast me some more, and those comments didn’t go through, either (though I was sorely, sorely tempted, out of sheer spite. See, I would have felt bad about that – I’m guessing she didn’t think the comments would go through, since it was pretty much vitriol aimed at me. *sighs* And even over email and in the face of insults, I remained polite. I want a cookie, damn it). (It should be noted that I used something that person said as an example of a fallacious argument, so I wasn’t at all surprised I got the vitriolic comment/email… See, I’m really not so innocent. That would be claws-out-with-a-smile, because I never attributed it to her, I was polite in the email,¬†and I didn’t pass her extremely nasty comment through to let everyone else see what a shit she was being…)

What is it about lesbians hauling off and being so very nasty to transpeople? (Is it supposed to be Trans people? I think I read that somewhere, but can’t remember.) I mean, I hear straight folk say some dumb-ass things, but I haven’t personally heard anyone straight say bitchy and outright insulting things. Lesbians, though, I’ve heard that to my face, as it were, twice, and overheard it other times.

Is it that FTMs are threatening? Making the already-small pool of possible partners smaller? Is it hard-core feminist lesbians who see FTMs as selling out? Is it that it makes us aware that, gasp, our own gender journey could not be finished and there might be MORE hard changes in store, and so it’s scary to see? Is it that lesbians are like everyone else, and things that are very different alarm them?

Probably all of the above, to one extent or another.

Anyway. I feel like a bitch in the 1700’s, when conversation was everything. When if you wanted to say something truly mean, you still found a pretty way to say it. I’ve failed spectacularly in being the better person, but at least I’m saying it with confidence and in thoughtful, creative ways. *wry smile*

J



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



et cetera