One of the most used ways to understand someone is to look at their friends. We tell a lot about each other by the choices we make, and understanding your choices in friends (and their choices about you) is one of the quickest ways to understand.
As women, we understand more about women than about men. When we see what kind of woman a man connects with we understand more about that man. We need to see what kind of woman the candidate married to know more about who he is and what the influences are in his life.
OurPalVal used to go out to bars with her guy friends to help them meet women. When other women saw the guys interacting with a vibrant, attractive woman, they saw a more attractive side of the guys than just the side they would see if the guys were alone, or with a group of guys.
One big problem with trans being such an individual path is that we never had that network of friends, or even if we did, we had to walk away from them to move away from their entrenched expectations of us. People on an individual path don’t have big groups of friends, and that means we don’t meet friends of friends, means we don’t have groups of friends around us to illuminate us to others.
A person sitting alone is a bit suspect, but a tranny sitting alone can be very suspect. They have the power to stand alone, which may mean they are a threat, or may mean they are mature and centered. And even if the person alone is mature and centered, they may be able to see through games and manipulations, which is also scary.
I remember one of us who met another tranny at a party, and they spoke. Her friend said “Wow, you trannys connect easily! That must be great!” My sister saw the same thing when we met Dini at the Hudson River Theatre and I was immediately connected.
It may be true that we look to each other, but it’s also true that when tranny defenses hit tranny defenses there is often a big clash. The protective bubbles hit and the streams cross and it’s not pretty. We also often see things we have worked hard to move away from in ourselves in others, that defense or closeting or queerness or whatever, and that repels too.
It’s an old tranny myth that you are much more likely to be read out when you are with other trannies. People assume commonality with groups — when my 6′ 3″ born female partner and I dressed as cheerleaders and people read me as being born male, they sometimes assumed she was born male too.
Which comes first: becoming part of the crowd, or finding the crowd? It is a chicken and egg thing: you have to be one of them before you join in, but you can’t be one of them unless you have already joined in. For people who have been consistent and tradtional in their experience, they know where they fit and they know how to fit there. For those of us who are liminal and move between worlds, we know who we are and we know who we aren’t, but the whole tame fitting in thing ain’t as easy.
I know why The Big Beautiful Bitch called me last night. She wanted a pal to be there, to chat with, to be second pair of eyes, to create a safe space to have the kind of fun you want to have at a party where there is a live band and good tequila. And I wanted to be there with her, safe and backed up, making whatever magic we can scrape together.
I’m not sure that this makes any sense to those who have always felt connected, being able to fit in with the crowd rather than to be strongly “marked,” standing out as themselves.
If my friends tell you who I am, then I know I am good. But I also know that my friends are few and far between, and are as indvidual as I am.
That means people can’t tell much about me by them, and so people tend to stay away.
The obligation of the phobogenic object to negotiate the private & unspoken fears that reside inside others is a very tough challenge.
And without friends at your back, it’s almost impossible.