I know I already talked about allowing words to push my buttons and how I wasn’t going to go apeshit on someone for calling me a tranny. I still hold to that, but let me tell you, I still can’t get comfortable with the word transsexual. It’s stupid, right? I mean, by very definition, I am a transsexual and meet most or all of the criteria as defined in the DSM V… that says I have gender identity disorder? Shit, my copy at home is still the III-R from back in college. Nevertheless, I, Michelle, am a Transsexual. It’s true… buy why does this make me uncomfortable?
I’ve never made it a secret that my preferred term is Transgendered. I know this is an umbrella term and by co-opting it I’m pushing aside the cross-dressers, female impersonators, gender queer, third sex, intersex, no sex, two-spirit, and every other slightly different but equal group that might also prefer it as an exclusive definition. It’s not fair of me, but I still want to do it. Why, why, why? I think it really comes down to the fact that ‘transsexual’ just sounds incredibly creepy.
I don’t think there is such a thing as a good ‘creepy’. Creepy is when you shake hands with someone who uses way too much lotion. It’s like going into a corn field with disconcerting blonde children who never smile. Too creepy; I’d rather be boiled. Maybe it’s that double ‘s’ in the middle of the word. It’s very German. These are the people who turned the whimsically delightful notion of going to camp into the worst thing ever. I think if someone opened a transsexual gym, people would imagine it has whips, chains, leather and probably a gimp or two running around. I’m probably one of the people who would think that.
That half the word is ‘sexual’ doesn’t help at all. When many people hear the term, I would not be surprised if they assume it’s some sort of fetish where the person being described derives some intense orgasmic delight over the prospect of changing their gender. Those of us who are trans know there isn’t an iota of truth to that. It takes about a week on hormones before even the thought of arousal is a thing of the past. Yes, we know it, but just type it into any search engine, even wavy-gravy hip Amazon, and the vast majority of offerings are meant to titillate, to put it politely. I’m OK with being misunderstood, but not so much when it involves shallow breathing and upper lip perspiration. Ew.
So what do we want to be called? If we stick with the DSM, switching it up to become GID’s would fit, unless we don’t care to sound like we fast tracked a later in life high school diploma. Given a choice, I’d just go with ‘woman’, but we are human and must classify well beyond logical reason. ‘Transgender’ you know I’m down with, but tired of being corrected or asked to qualify, bringing me back to ‘transsexual’. Something about ‘t-girl’ just pisses me off. I have no reason for this, but it does. We could make up something new. Sisters of Loki? The Untesticulated? Reidentified? I’m being facetious.
Truth be told, if I could come up with some catchy new term that would be enthusiastically adopted, I’d do it. This blog just doesn’t get enough hits. Our lives are such that unless we are unquestionably passable, we are going to have to spend a significant portion of our lives having to explain what we are supposed to be anyway. If a single word could sum it all up succinctly, it would be a wonderful thing. In the mean time I’ll stick with transgendered and the strong probability of invasive questions to follow.