Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stupidity And Self-Inflicted Ignorance

Isn't it strange that having a dick automatically makes you a man, but having a vagina isn't enough to make you a woman?

Odd as it may seem, this gets proved every day for transsexual women around the world. Occasionally it is the stuff that makes headlines, peddles newspapers, or makes topical conversation around the craps table over drinks, transphobic jokes and peanuts. 

I feel it is an accurate portrayal of the fundamentalist worldview when I say their "view" is of the "join us - or else" or "I have a right to exist - and you don't" persuasion. The scary part is that the extremists see themselves as "true" Christians (or "true" men) - and everyone else as their enemy. I think it is the height of paranoia. (Of course, as the old song says - that doesn't mean we're NOT out to get them.)

For the past week or so I have been hearing and reading nasty comments based on speculation whether pop star Lady Gaga is intersex, and about a female athlete being accused of being male and having to undergo examination to prove that she is a woman! Suddenly a beautiful woman on stage that has been wowing millions with her cool songs and great voice now stops being beautiful and is a freak, a monster and a sexual deviant etcetera, etcetera. Men say online that they would never touch "it". 

I wonder, aside from Lady Gaga's sky-rocketing singing career, did she actually make herself in any way? 

The heartless and soulless things some have said about other people who have feelings, hopes, dreams shattered - sometimes hit home, even through a skin as thick as mine. Often such blind stupidity and base hatred makes me wonder if human beings as a species deserve to be classified above the amoeba and sea slugs. Some people certainly deserve to be compared to cockroaches, although it has to be said, this puts they rest of us on a par with them - and insults cockroaches.

Usually discrimination and prejudice is on a less conspicuous level, on an everyday basis of a girl getting the shit kicked out of her for telling her suitor her history and going on to be more careful next time. And yet we go on searching for a partner who will love us as we are, even if they don't know who that is. It is a basic human need, to love and be loved in return. As trans women we learn pretty early on in the dating game that giving any sign of our past can be deadly. 

But why this hostility?

Being a transwoman means that you are born with a male body - i.e. "having a dick" to use the blunt term - but that most certainly doesn't make us feel like - or want to be - "a man". For us being physically male is the greatest betrayal of nature. We didn't ask for it, we don't want it and we would rather die than live with it. It is for this reason that we seek to make changes - which are time consuming, often embarrassing - and expensive. What the heck, some people spend money on boob-jobs or fancy cars and sound systems - we have alterations done. To start with, we are quite often obvious looking and stand out like sore thumbs. We dread going outdoors for all the negative attention we get, the people who have nothing better to do with their time than to walk into things while staring, the idiots who point fingers and make crude remarks, and the assholes who refuse to serve you as a customer at the shop counter or who get their knickers in a knot if they see you going into the ladies restroom.

For many of us this awkward stage passes and eventually so do we. We move among the population unseen and unnoticed, except for the casual passing flattering attention from the same men who fail to realize they are now drooling over the same creature they directed nasty comments at or wanted to beat up months earlier. And yet, even if we are lucky enough to not look like men, but women - even attractive women, even if we have had surgery and are in fact eventually female by genital and legal description, we receive a large amount of hatred and abuse. This is mostly from men, not so much from women. This usually comes from ignorance and fear of the unknown - and far too much testosterone. 

Once these people learn what we really are, are educated - this usually subsides and passes into understanding and tolerance. Truth and fact are the weapons with which we must fight this culture war they have forced upon us. Truth and fact.

Another contributing factor is the latent dominance of the Patriarchy. A large number of men are still convinced that men are superior and "better" than women. They are convinced that men should "rule" the home, the family, the workplace and the world. Most of this delusional opinion comes from religious influence, which has been used traditionally to control society in terms of opinion forming, thought and doctrine. Even today feminist opinion formers are receiving hate mail derogating them as "lesser beings" who should "know their place" and be subservient to them.

I saw an interesting survey this week that indicates the majority of women around the world - especially in uncivilized third world countries - STILL believe that it is acceptable for their men or husbands to beat them. What?

The male psyche seems to exhibit fear of being lesser than women. They see women as weak, both physically and mentally. They still equate brute physical force with having more intelligence. Might makes right. Men appear to view equality with women as being humiliated or lowered in status. To them it is an insult. Well, we can see what a nice world we have been living in since men took over and usurped the matriarchal society with the patriarchy. War and violence.

Let's take some examples:

"Filament, an erotic magazine for women featuring semi-naked men, can't get a printer to publish photographs of aroused men, even though their readers say it's what they'd like to see."

Well of course it's not right to feature naked men in a magazine - it could be degrading. On the other hand, putting naked women in a magazine is fine because they're all just sluts anyway. The patriarchy at its best again...

"Nancy Griffin, a tennis player in Raleigh, is suing the city for refusing to let her play against men. An actual quote from the article: "Men have invoked both their wives and God to avoid matches against her." Wowzer."

What's the matter? Are they afraid of getting their asses kicked in public by a woman? Talk about the Patriarchy and it's fragile little ego! How typical - and how pathetic!

It is the same mindset that states in western law that a woman can be raped - but not a man. A man is a victim of "aggravated assault", not rape - and it is beneath male dignity to be raped. And yet these men are rape victims. Changing the legal description of the crime doesn't change the impact or consequences of the crime for the victim - but it does change the punishment for it. The rapist gets a lighter sentence, and the victim does not get the justice he deserves. All in the name of keeping the patriarchy's image.

Ironically when a woman is brave enough to confront her rapist in court, she is the one put on trial. It was her fault because of what she wore, or because of her sexual history, or because sheshouted "no" while meaning "yes". And it is often that the rapist walks away with the sympathy of the court. In this way it seems that sections of society view transgender victims of hate crime in the same light.

It was their fault for not disclosing. It was their fault for being trans women in the first place. That'll learn them, eh? They asked for it. Freaks.

How are men supposed to react when they find out their girlfriend used to be a man? How indeed.

Men are typically enraged when they find out that the attractive girl whom they have been dating for six weeks was once male, and then lose it. Often they will get violent, some will be content with minor assault, others will force themselves sexually on their victims, and many - an increasing number - take it to the extreme and commit murder. Of course, they do not feel any remorse in doing this, they feel justified and righteous in "defending" their impugned "manhood" - especially if they were homophobic to begin with.

I could argue that these women have a pretty lousy taste in men if they are desperate enough to date homophobes - because they are invariably also demented enough to be transphobic. Now perhaps some people are saying that trans girls should be upfront and honest about their history before dating somebody. 

While this concept is terrifically noble, it is also quite impractical, and experience teaches us this from the beginning. What straight man is going to want a trans woman? Surely only a rare case indeed would. Indeed. They are rare but they do exist. But there really are not enough to go round for all of us yet - perhaps one day when people are less judgmental - or just less mental, there will be. 

Why don't trans women go for gay men? Simple - because trans women aren't gay men, and gay men want men. In fact, they're famous for it. 

To add to the apparent confusion some transsexual women identify as lesbian or pan-sexual, but despite this, they typically look for a partner while keeping their past secret - with the intention to fill them in later, once they already have developed feelings for them - hopefully enough to still want them. Sometimes this works out, but often ends in tears. Some - a few, actually intend to never divulge their past at all, to pretend to all the world that they have no male past at all. In my experience this seldom works, unless you change your name, your job and move cities and even countries - and never run into people you knew in your past life. Not even Nazi war criminals managed to do that for very long - and trans people certainly are not criminals that should have to hide, are they?

There is a legend in my home town about a trans woman who did not disclose to her boyfriend of five years. One day he proposed marriage to her - and she finally told him. He walked out on her. After five years of being in an intimate relationship with her, and not knowing, that one little detail was enough to turn his love into hate. I suppose she should be grateful he didn't kill her.

A week ago I passed on an email containing pictures of beautiful girls with the message that the reader should guess which of them was a born girl and which was a transsexual. They were all beautiful and feminine and even having "gaydar" and the transgender equivalent for it, I couldn't guess - and at the end the reader is told that they were ALL trans women. I passed it on to show others the same thing, hoping it would open some minds out there. If people cannot even tell the trans women from cisgender women - or a man cannot tell his girlfriend whom he wants to marry is a trans woman without being told - then why does KNOWING suddenly make us different? It doesn't - but how they see us, is.

On dates with straight men whom I have told up front, they have reacted in a standard pattern. First they are sweet and interested and romantic. Then when they know, they become silent, cold, distant, even aggressive. They become angry that I have "wasted" their time. Hmm. The feeling is quite mutual, believe me.

Are we so different from cisgender women? After all, we want the same thing as they do. To be loved, to be happy, to be ourselves. Those who criticize trans people for hiding their origins should as themselves WHY. Is it SAFE to be open and honest about who we are? Is it smart, given the circumstances? Or does loneliness - and fear - sometimes outweigh the need to be completely open and honest?

Regardless of any argument here on disclosure, does a trans woman in any way deserve to be bludgeoned to death - whether or not she has told the truth - or even FOR telling the truth? How about the ones who are upfront and meet their suitors - who have lured them out into the open with the intention of humiliating them - or doing them physical harm? That does happen.

One guy called me out on a date and spent ten minutes walking past my table at a mall coffee shop with a buddy - both wearing bad disguises - to look me over and point fingers. Another chickened out and disappeared upon seeing me. Another I dated while pre-op found out for himself while I tried to tell him - and then tried to rape me as his "one gay experience". That was a very interesting evening.

Ignorance is the main cause of this. They know nothing of gay people - and they know even lessabout transgender. They only think they know. They see transgender people as men who insulttheir manhood, turning their backs on power and strength, traitors to their fraternity. While sexual orientation is a separate issue from gender identity, they see them as one and the same - and since they have homophobic issues with gay males, they then have issues with trans women - who they see as one and the same. As with all homophobia, the problem lies with them, internally. 

I agree with the comic definition of homophobia - it is an insecurity about being heterosexual.

Supporters of the murderer of 21 year old trans girl Angie Zapata claimed that HE was the "real victim". They claimed HE should receive trauma counseling at the expense of Angie's family. HE should receive trauma counseling? Excuse me? HE was the one who beat her to death with a fire extinguisher and then went through all her things with the intention of stealing them. HE was the one who heard her struggling on the floor and then hit her a second time with the same fire extinguisher, killing her. What kind of person does that? What kind of person sides with him?What kind of mentality claims HE is a victim because HE acted out of hatred?

Does such a history make us any less women? Or less human? Does it make us "worthy of death" as religious fundamentalist groups claim? What about the perpetrators of such vicious acts? Are they more human than we are? Are they the "true" victims here?

In their view beating the shit out of somebody who they have been tender and loving towards for the past few minutes, hours, days or weeks demonstrates what "real" men they are. And it is the same with gay-bashers and rapists, aside from the brute sadist angle of it, of course. It shows exactly how their primitive side views the effeminate, the other. 

Do we not aspire to be better than those who take it upon themselves to cast such heinous judgments on people who would trust them with their lives - and then betray that trust - by repaying it with death? As a society should we not view their lack of compassion and remorse in the light of a moral judgment on the human race? 

Isn't it interesting how nationalistic attitudes foster the notion that being gay is "un-(fill in your nationality/religion/culture here)"? 

Being born gay or transgender is no respecter of persons - as it appears neither is bigotry. We are a part of the human race, perpetuated through nature. And therefore, being gay or trans is beneath NO group - but part and parcel of EVERY group.

I heard a woman talking on the radio about how years ago she was talking to a friend and said to her "look how funny that man is walking."

Her friend replied "That's my mother."


How do you dig yourself out of that one? 

You don't. You pull it in after you.


If you would like to know more about Christina Engela and her writing, please feel free to browse her website.

If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to or use the Contact form.

All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.


No comments:

Post a Comment