This whole Andrea James/Calpernia Addams affair has got me thinking about a lot of things… Right now I’d like to talk about one of them: How us “olds” need to check ourselves when it comes to criticizing younger trans folks.
To me, James’ and Addams’ attacks upon Parker Malloy aren’t just disgusting because they attempt to invalidate the identities of queer trans women (like me), they’re also repugnant because they reek of an older generation who can’t be bothered to try to understand younger people.
More than anything, Addams/James screeds come off as them screaming “Get Off My Lawn!” to any trans women who didn’t transition or identify exactly as they do. I’m 39. I’m getting older. I HATE the idea of turning into what Addams and James have become.
I’ll give you an example: I have a hard time wrapping my head around non-binary/agender/genderqueer identities. My visceral reaction is “Huh. Why would someone want to do THAT?” But here’s the thing: Instead of taking that gut reaction and concluding that those identities are invalid (bc they are different from my own), I tap the brakes and ask myself: “Do I just feel this way because it’s something that’s new and unfamiliar to me?” And the answer is… Yup. Older folks should ask themselves that question EVERY DAMN TIME they are tempted to whinge about “these kids today.”
So even when I don’t entirely “get it,” I try to stay open minded and receptive to new information and arguments. People like Calpernia Addams and Andrea James should go forth and do likewise…
This! Exactly this!
I transitioned in the mid/late 90s, just a few years after Calpernia did. I’m 33 now, and very aware that I’m not entirely part of the cool, hip new Millenial trans population. Hell, back when I transitioned you had to stoke the boiler to get your computer on the internet, and hormones arrived by passenger pigeon.
So before I re-entered the community after years of being stealth, I took a few weeks to fucking read, and learn about the experiences of people transitioning now. And yes, there were things I didn’t understand at first, I gave these people the benefit of the doubt that they understood their own lives as well as I understood mine.
Rants like Calpernia’s and especially Andrea’s reflect the kind of attitude I transitioned amongst, and why I had so much self-loathing and difficulty coming to terms with being a lesbian in addition to being trans. Both of these women have done great things for the community (I wouldn’t have even understood where to start with transition without Andrea’s TS Roadmap website), but the philosophies they’re pushing the last few weeks—of deferral to the gay male community and of queer trans people being less real—are poisonous. It’s not that hard to listen to others within your own community, even if you don’t understand them at first.
Hi! So, I'm probably 99.7% sure that I'm transgender, and I really can't stand living as my birth sex anymore. My therapist won't even let me talk to her about how I'm feeling, and I'm not really sure what to do. How did you get started, if you don't mind me asking? —by Anonymous
Hey there! First, it’s okay to be unsure. You’re allowed to take time to just figure things out and not have an answer!
Secondly, if there’s any possible way, get a new therapist. The point of seeing a mental health professional is that you can talk about how you’re feeling. If you can’t, that really defeats the purpose!
My first step was taking a while to do some research and figure out what I was feeling. Next I went to a psychologist under the guise of feeling depressed (which was legitimate… just not the whole story) and chatted with them about it. They suggested a GP I could talk to, as well as a bunch of resources.
I vouch for the friendly-GP option, which is to find a GP who is queer friendly and will help you put together the other health professionals that you may want throughout your transition. I don’t personally agree that any singular aspect of transition is necessary, be it hormones, surgeries, etc. but they’re also valid choices and it’s much easier to have someone already in the medical world on your team.
There may also be a ‘coming out’ aspect, be it to friends or family, and that’s something that can be really tough depending on your circumstances. Especially in surroundings that could potentially be harmful to you, it’s important you look after your own wellbeing, and keep those who support and love you close. If in absolute doubt, come to the nice corners of the internet. We have non-exclusionary feminists and kittens.
This is a very general set of ideas, so feel free to ask more specific questions, and all my best to you!
Last night we had the best sex we’ve ever had. I’ve ever had. It was stunning.
I lay in her arms for an hour and we talked about our recent anniversary (of our first time together), and shared stories from early on in our friendship and relationship. We poured ourselves into honest and beautiful recollections, holding each other tighter and tighter. It culminated as I, eyes closed with joy, recounted how I remembered our first kiss. I finished speaking and opened my eyes to my love kissing me, and my entire body felt like it was sinking into the deep and she was giving me oxygen. Everything melted away for hours, not a single other thing but her existed in my mind. I’m so, breathlessly in love.
I’m trying not to overshare but I’m so overcome with happiness I want to tell everyone, and few people would be as receptive to hearing about my sex life as internet strangers…
I really shouldn’t have been surprised.
April 23, 2014
I’ve never understood the whole “locks and keys” argument about sexual plenitude because it’s literally just an analogy. I mean, it’s no different to someone in a conversation on gendered promiscuity smugly explaining “yeah, but men are from Mars and women are from Venus”.
Hint: they’re not.
this is the real first page of a real book by a real Fox News host
I grew up in a much simpler time - when blackberry was a pie, an apple could get a bug, and bananas were safe from prophylactics in public schools. When dirty dancing was about being in a dark room and admiring Patrick Swayze. When exceeding my bandwidth was about kicking out the fat girl who played trombone. When men were men and girls were girls and men who liked men were girls too and we could call them that, and when I could describe myself as gay and have it be ambiguous and liberating.
April 22, 2014
I’m really curious about trans people of different ages, and attitudes/approriateness/etc.
I was followed just the other day on Pinterest by a woman whose profile identifies her as transgender, and whose trans boards are filled with images such as a young trans girl with makeup on, the descriptions of which liberally use slurs.
There is also an attitude of hyper-sexuality, and hyper public sexuality, among her and a group of women she ‘congregates’ with on the site. Maybe it’s because I’ve had the privilege and luck to be in my position at my age and that long term repression plays a part.
The most offended I’ve felt about my own gender identity in the past hasn’t been from cis people, but from a handful of older trans people I met through activism. Some of their comments and generalised notions during very ordinary conversations were rather confronting.
I don’t know, I guess I was wondering if anyone else has seen this, or has looked into it. I’m not particularly against it, just thinking about it.