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Trannier Than Thou

Super Trans

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good contrived and meaningless yardstick for measuring some issue of personal comparison that has no reason to be made. Really, I do! My team is better than your team, I can get a higher score on Galaga than you, my street boasts 2 pizza places to your streets’ one, I sneeze bigger blobs of phlegm onto my computer monitor than you can, and it goes on. All harmless fun because none of these things really means anything. I won’t lie, I love to tout my ability to make the “best” chicken parm, but I also know it’s pretty bullshit and subjective. So what’s with people taking the ‘trannier than thou’ stance anyway?

We all know this is a real thing and one I’ve discussed at length with other like minded bloggers like Becky and Dianne. We have all encountered it. That one person who seems to feel that there is some sort of ranking system along the transgender spectrum, and that one place is decidedly better than another. I’ve noticed these ranks seem to always be in these particular individuals favor and generally center on either time in or past transition or what degree of medical intervention is required to get to that comfortable place.

Before we go further, I’d like to differentiate these folks from others who might appear the same on the outset, but are of completely different motivation. I’m speaking of those among us who have fully transitioned and stick around out of an innate sense of good heartedness to provide information, guidance, mentoring and general support to those of us beginning or in some stage of our journey. These people are treasured resources and tend to speak strictly through personal experience and out of desire to help rather than pull some sort of rank to increase their own standing or to fortify their position. They are godsends and we all benefit from this.

A ‘trannier than thou’ is one who will either remind you that you have not been on hormones as long, or worse, those who fling derisive shit at cross-dressers or those who found their comfort zone without having to take the train to the last stop. I covered this a bit when I talked about the surgery a few weeks back. I would like to take a moment and explore the potential root cause of this somewhat infuriating phenomenon.

The most obvious cause is self esteem issues. It would stand to reason that someone who doesn’t really regard themselves very well would seek the means to make comparisons that worked in their favor. Lord knows the trans* population has more than enough challenges to give anyone all kinds of personality issues: self-hatred, body dysphoria, and even post-traumatic guy syndrome. OK, I kind of made the last one up, but still. For people suffering any of these maladies, it must feel pretty good to establish themselves as a contrived authority of sorts and put themselves up at the top of the pecking order. What probably isn’t helping them much is are the negative feelings so many of us have toward people who declare themselves Grand Poobah on invention alone.

Another potential cause is the intense competitive nature some people naturally come by. You know what I’m talking about. You mention how a trip took you 4 hours and they immediately chime in with the fact they have done it in 3. You got your first compliment as a female ever, and they deluge you with stories how they can’t check the mail without being propositioned. I think you can see how easily this translates into you just started on 2 mg of Estrodial, they are now on 8. You are contemplating GRS, they have their appointment booked. God help you if you are not planning transition at all, for this makes them Danica Patrick to your 91 year old gramma barely looking over the wheel of her Chevy Celebrity. I can’t believe I just used a car analogy. Ugh! Sorry, the name stuck because for a while I was mistaking her for that other Danica who played Winnie Cooper on ‘The Wonder Years’. “Good for her!”, I thought, “She found a career after acting.”

To date I have not discovered the means to dissuade a ‘trannier than thou’ individual from continuing on in their belief system as it’s like arguing with young earth evangelicals. The only effective way to deal is to either ignore them completely, or take it to a public forum where they are unable to sway a majority opinion. Oh, they will still believe in their own inherent grandiose status, but at least they are way more likely to shut up about it for a while. The vast majority of us will continue on with the understanding that our journeys are  individually tailored to our needs as we make them, no better, no worse, and that comparison for any reason other than fellowship and sisterhood are meaningless and unquantifiable. My chicken parm is still the best though. Just sayin’.

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About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

8 responses »

  1. Hey girl…i’m still waiting on your chicken parm recipe! (grin)
    Traci xoxo

    Reply
  2. Kristine Hollander

    3T’s are annoying at best. But I can grin and bare them till I can find an exit point. However I can see just blowing them out of the water to save the sanity of others. I have a friend who has mentioned to me that, and I quote, “You just want to transition on your own terms, thts not possible”! And goes on to enumerate her struggles and dosages, Etc. I chalk it up to her age and tht she has indeed lived a rougher life than I. But when I step back she is just another 3T to be tolarated in small doses. Great piece!

    Reply
  3. One variation of this that I’ve come across is the “I’m the only REAL ____ here” attitude. This mostly comes out in committee and other meetings where it’s clear that they consider the others to be some form of “pretenders” and that only their own experiences and opinions are valid. They tend to carefully pick who they’re seen in public with, just in case the other person “doesn’t pass”.

    When I was in a trans hostel in Sydney in the 90s there was immense competition between the occupants. The two questions were “When are you getting surgery?” and “When are you getting laid?” as if both were clear validations of your womanhood (never mind the fact that many guys will stick it in anything). But being on the most hormones or first to surgery is hardly an indication of “better”. In fact as time goes on, it’s likely that reassignment surgery techniques will improve, so wait makes more sense.

    The most common lie I recall was “Oh my psych says I’m ready for surgery now, I don’t have to wait two years”, as if it was like getting tyres changed on a car, instead of having major surgery on one’s body. When I started my own transition I sat down and and realised that the purpose wasn’t to become “a woman” but to become “more myself”. On that basis it’s awfully silly to be worried about the attitudes that others take. they have bigger breast size, on more hormones or whatever, well good for them. But if it’s about becoming more oneself, then changing to match someone’s standard seems awfully silly.

    Reply
  4. Why are you using that hateful term, “Tranny” or it’s derivative, “Trannier”? Didn’t we go to great lengths to get Trevor Ashley to NOT use that word in his play at the Sydney Opera House? While saying “I am more Transsexual than you” is a bit awkward, at least it isn’t insulting.

    Reply
    • I remember the kerfuffal about this last year, and it all seemed to be centred around the obvious pun in the title. Always thought that was rather strange because I can recall reading articles by people in the late 90s / early 00s about “reclaiming tranny”. At the time I’d thought that odd because I hadn’t heard its use outside trans circles. Times change I guess and from what I’ve read elsewhere it seems that the term was “spoiled” by excessive use in the porn industry.

      In any case, the point I’m trying to make here is that the main offence of that show really wasn’t the title – it was the content of it, and I I read almost nothing about that from anyone!

      Reply
  5. I have hang ups with cross dressers, etc. but I try to accept its my own bias and not something inherently wrong with them.

    Reply
  6. Hi Mechellelianna! The ‘Trannier Than Thou’ exists on this side of the pond as well. I suspect they are universal…

    We also have another type here, sadly much more prevalent. 20 miles away in a large city (Manchester, UK) there is a gay/lesbian/trans Village, clearly defined and well policed, as there is in most large cities. TVs (trannies, CDs – TV is preferred by them) are quite easy going about TS (or TG, but I don’t like the term. It’s an umbrella, and I’m a person, not an umbrella), but an awful lot of TSs pour scorn on TVs. It’s simply ‘below’ them to speak to TVs. And as for turning up at one of the many TV haunts is simply unthinkable.

    As it happens, the ‘TS Gang’ (five of us, from 40 to 64, 3 months into transition to well past the op) also get looked down upon: we dare to turn up in the Village and openly enjoy ourselves, and even *gasp* talk to TVs.

    There’s even a rift between pre-op and post-op. It seems if we can find a way to divide and conquer ourselves, we take it.

    ‘Let that be your last battlefield’ seems, for the most part, prophetic.

    Love and hugs, Steph xxx

    Reply

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