What little kid grows up wanting to be a tranny?
It’s not something we dream. We may want to be ourselves, or we may want to be a girl, or may want to be beautiful, but being a tranny? Not a dream.
After all, the only formal role for trannies in this culture is to be a clown. Now, some of us may exploit that role, appearing in dragface or in genderfuck, but even the vast majority of those performers change back into some more normative role in the morning. It may be a woman, or a gay man, or a straight man, but we tend to be clear that we are not the performance.
There is a reason that going stealth, one way or the other, as the assigned role or as the assumed role seems so good. It’s because we never really wanted to be liminal freaks in no-man’s/no-woman’s land. We wanted to be ourselves.
I fucking hate being a tranny. But, on the other hand, I know that to be stealth either way is just really not possible for me. My voice is the voice that connects and crosses, and to compartmentalize is to lose that voice, a voice I have worked way too hard to uncover.
I said to a gal who is a new lobbyist for the state GL rights lobby that I had been read out as “a guy” just moments before. She said “Well, that’s gonna happen.” Yes, it damn well is, but babe, if you don’t understand that cuts trannies every time it does, you ain’t got no position representin’ us. Here I am screaming about who I know myself to be in my clothes and choices, and bang, boom, there I am reduced right back to my birth genetalia. And whoever reads me feels like they have been smart, done a service, told the truth.
It’s not being seen as a transwoman that’s the problem, of course. It’s being held to some sort of biological reductivism, the guy-in-a-dress line.
I hate being a tranny because being a tranny feels like being a target of those who see group identity as more essential as indvidual expression.
I hate being a tranny because my differentness gets in the way of people listening to me as just another human.
I hate being a tranny because it’s almost impossible to find people who can understand the experience and perspective that being a tranny brings, people who are willing to enter my world and see through my eyes.
I hate being a tranny because of the assumptions people make about trannys, assumptions about motives and deceptions and sickness and perversion.
I hate being a tranny because there is no language I have found that can get past the weirdness, the buzz in people’s heads. They can’t mirror me because they have no sense of what it’s like to be me.
People ask why there are so few out trannies, why most of us try to find some way to keep our head down, or to at least think we are doing that.
It’s because, put simply, that because there are no good roles for grown up trannys, whatever we want to be in this life has to be beyond our transness. We didn’t sign up to be trannies, we just found that being one was the only way we could come close to getting what we need in this binary, heterosexist world where the shape of our skin is valued over the content of our character.
I don’t want to be a tranny. I fucking hate being a tranny. But I don’t want to have to destroy parts of myself to fit in, either. I’ve tried that killing off, and it’s killing me.
Tranny means defense in this culture. It means walking around in armor, and without the support system that most groups have. We can’t just go to our family who share race & class, go to the women’s room to share gender, go where others like us are. Trans is an indvidual path, and often the most dangerous people to us are other trannys who see us making choices of which they do not approve, choices that scare them.
Who the fuck wants to be a Tranny? I mean, I know who wants to be themselves, I know who wants to cross assigned gender roles to be themselves, I know who wants to follow their own passions and find their bliss. These are things I understand, just as I understand that being a tranny is the only way to do that for many of my sisters and brothers.
But who the fuck wants to be a tranny?
(I expand on this theme almost nine years later in 2014 in this post: Beyond Binary.)