Holy potatoes! I had intended to dedicate today’s post to how the GSA is AOK in my book, but my last post on the word “transsexual” managed to bring out some *strong* feelings in the people who read it. It just wouldn’t be right in my book not to address this, so I’m going to attempt to discuss some of the commentary received on my main blog Michellelianna, my reposting on PinkEssense, personal messages, and of course Facebook. It would appear I jangled a nerve or two. If I miss anyone’s salient point, mea culpa, I’m doing this from memory.
I’m going to start with the easy stuff first. A few respondents became very indignant about being lumped into a generalized category with cross-dressers, female impersonators and such. I was disappointed to see the term “pervert” being thrown about. I absolutely do not agree with this thinking. Yes, I got annoyed when several people asked me if I could “just do this on the weekends”. My irritation was their misunderstanding of my existence, and assuredly not that people for whom this would be an acceptable solution are in any way less than. We are not all the same under the transgender umbrella, but we are equal. As a class so frequently misunderstood, feared, and attacked, I think the very least we can do is show a kindness of spirit, understanding, and inclusion. I’m willing to be proven wrong on most issues, but not this.
On to a topic even easier… I know I used the term “transgendered” and that is doesn’t officially exist anymore than “gayed”. I’ll confess right now. I make words up. All the time actually. Incredibly, I am hardly ever called on it. Here is my thinking: if I make up a word, it fits the flow of what I’m typing out, and people understand what I’m attempting to communicate, it is then a word, “official” or not. I know this irritates the hell out of purists, but chances are I’m not going to stop. I do have a degree in English and I do understand this makes my little habit nearly unforgivable, I also feel all rules are made up and therefore changeable, breakable, and somewhat illusory to boot.
One of the more prevalent types of comment can be boiled down to, “why are we so focused on labels anyway?” That one is more difficult. I do have a lot of thoughts on the matter I’m going to address in a future post regarding why it is so difficult to get anything done (which to summarize, is that I think the trans community is trying to address way, way too many things at once, and currently the notion of “trans community” is an ill defined collection of individuals). For the record, I also don’t think a lot of time should be focused on labels. The intent of the post was to present a slightly humorous look at my personal peccadilloes regarding language. Should I ever have the opportunity to address Congress or even appear on ‘AM Buffalo’ for some reason, I’ll come armed with much more relevant subject matter.
Someone wrote up a long medical sounding description wherein she and I were referred to as “fian Females”. I immediately agreed as my last name is and I identify as female, so this made perfect sense. Then she totally lost me with a description of nephritic tube formation and I wasn’t so sure. On about the fifth reading I think I understand and agree and concede that fian Female sounds a lot nicer to me than transsexual, which I still find a bit naary.
I received lots of pros and cons regarding the word transsexual itself. The main takeaway was that the ‘sex’ in ‘transsexual’ is not meant to convey libidinous preference, and also that cisgender people often take it that way anyway, making us all uncomfortable. I’ll clarify. My discomfort is not with the word, but with the way people say it that it comes out very lascivious sounding, especially when uttered by Tim Curry or Stewie from Family Guy. I understand a certain segment of the population tends to fetishize our condition, and that is one thing. I just don’t want to give the impression that I do.
I got a very clever reference to the Transgender Borg indicating the eventual assimilation of individualized pockets of trans around the planet that will one day speak with one voice, and hopefully shoot lasers at our detractors. It is certainly an interesting idea, but at the moment it resembles a bunch of cats duct taped together. If it does happen, I call dibs on being Seven of Nine, figuring I have ample time to get my buns in shape.
All in all, it seems like a pretty divisive issue. Some don’t care, some care a whole lot. Some like the standard terminology, and some make my dislike border on apathy. Others offer alternatives that while likable, will probably never go into vogue. I still don’t care for it, but on the same magnitude that I don’t care for orange clothing; it doesn’t enrage me, I’ll never buy it, but I suppose I’ll put it on if there is nothing else to wear and find a way to live with it. Until the Transgender Borg catches me unaware in her hideous pumpkin colored pants suit.