Femme

You know, when I get identified as being male bodied, well, that’s all right.   It’s like the gal, who after being pushed for an identification of the woman she enjoyed speaking to at the party by the therapist-hostess who liked to see transpeople as “gender gifted,” their birth gender with something extra, finally said “Well, I don’t think she has always been a woman. . .”

But when I get identified as a man-in-a-dress, well, that upsets me.  It’s that leap from identifing body sex to asserting the whole range of gendered stereotypes on me that is hard.  

I have never been a successful man.  I have never been married, never fathered children, never been in the military, never been on a sports team.  I have never been cocky enough to pleasure others with that bit of flesh between my thighs, though I have tried.  I have never been one of the guys, never.

Of course there are transpeople who have done that and are also women, but that’s not me.   I’m too damn femme to have done that.   They are great people, and women, but they aren’t me.

Rebecca Romijn, now playing a transsexual woman on Ugly Betty, shot back at biological determinist Ellen DeGeneres when Ellen asked if it was hard for Ms. Romijn to play a man. 

“I’m not playing a man,” she replied.  “I’m playing a transsexual woman, and that means she is a woman.  I know transsexual women and they are women.  One of my close friends is transexual and she has lived as a woman longer than she ever lived as a man.  I know that she is a woman, and feminine, and I have to serve  that. ”

It was heartwarming to hear the tall theater geek who is turned into supermodel to stand up for us against the lesbian.

If all I can ever be is a man in a dress, well, then, kill me right now.  I’ll just stay dead and take care of others until my mother in the sky takes me home to be with her. 

“You were never, uhh….. ” my sister searched.

“Slight?” I replied.

“Yes, you were never slight of build,” she said.  Heck, I knew that.  I also knew I started losing my hair when I was 17, not that the baby fine mop was good for much anyway.

I know the issues in being femaled.   The photographs of Dr. Richards in the NYT look like other transwomen I know, and while the body is altered, it’s not female.

I know what people see.  I also know what they assume.  And while I know that getting to know me can change some of that, I know that most people will never, ever get to know me.

“Is it hard to have to educate almost everyone?”  Lezlie asked me this week. 

Hard?  It’s a killer, always having to claw & dig myself out of a collapsing grave.

“If I ever I tell people that I am a Power-Femme/Drag-Mom/Trans-Theologian, they always find something to dislike,” I said.   “You know, if I could have been a mom, I wouldn’t have cared what I looked like.”

“You would have been a great mom,” she assured me.  “But there are other ways to parent. . . ”

“I know.  I am a grandparent, one who parents the parents.  But it isn’t the same.”

Lezlie had to go home to her three teens, one of whom had her last basketball game of the season that night.

I know that I am male bodied, and that the best thing I can ever be in this life is male with alterations.  That’s OK.

But the minute people make the leap from that to assuming that I am therefore “really a man,” well that’s the moment I am erased and hurt.

That’s the moment I feel the deathly crush, again.

Femme.

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