Susan Stanton

I get that Susan Stanton is a newly out transwoman, desperately seeking the assimilation into being a “normal woman” that she has dreamed of since she was a small child.

I get that Susan Stanton is working so hard to be normative that queerness still scares her, the queerness in the “gender community” and the queerness in her.

I get that Susan Stanton still believes she can be accepted as normative if she rejects queers and queerness.

I just know, from hearing way too many tranny narratives, that it’s not quite going to happen that way.  She’s never going to have a girlhood, never going to have a female body.  Never.

I’m really OK with her taking her path, with her finding out all this for herself.

What I’m not OK with is her thinking that she doesn’t have lessons to learn, including the lesson of compassion and understanding for other queers, others who feel the need to transgress the gender norms assigned to their birth sex to express who they really know themselves to be.

There are lots of broken and ugly trannys out there.  But most of them are broken from a lifetime of being crushed by stigma and twisted demands, unable to find a mature expression that fits them and is well accepted and embraced by society.

To say that we have to prove we can be normative for the mainstream, well, that’s a bar that’s impossible to achieve, even if that’s the bar she is working so hard to meet.

Ms. Stanton has her own path and her own progress.  But she should know that she is an adolescent again, and has a while to come to maturity as a gracious woman, a gracious trans woman who speaks for connection and not separation, a gracious and mature queer woman.

And until she finds that center, she shouldn’t assume there is any “us” for whom she can speak.

3 thoughts on “Susan Stanton”

  1. You were much more kind to poor Susan then most in our community. We all felt so bad for her when she was fired. If she only knew that she was going to flush all that support away with those senseless comments, I bet she would have kept her mouth shut.

    But then probably not. I have a 30 something new born trans friend, that had her whole personality change, her voice changed, her beard all but vanished, and her gender preference also changed, right after she started on hormones. Worst of all she spouts off the worst advice to a 20 year stealth post-op and every one else too. I just call her crazy and let it go, but it will be harder for us to let Susan Stanton’s words go.

  2. I don’t think Ms. Stanton has strong relationships with other transpeople, so I doubt our reservations at her words make a big difference to her.

    I know that Jennifer Boylan was terrified about Southern Comfort 2006, her first splash into national gender community, because at her distance she had seen lots of transpeople who brought up her fears, and few that affirmed and educated her.

    Still, you can only hear and understand what you can hear and understand at this time in your life. You can’t ask an 18 year old how they feel about facing retirement, for example. I know this well because I know how incomprehensible I am to most people; my words make no sense to people who haven’t engaged similar experiences.

    I just don’t know how to make people heal and mature faster than they need to go in their own life, no matter how much easier it would make our lives. People need to be on their own path.

    Adolescents know this, but they have seen enough people older than them that they can hold this moment in context, knowing that now they may be sixteen, but someday they will be eighteen, and then twenty one and then forty and then. . .

    Without mature transpeople to be parents to other transpeople, we don’t have that context. We don’t see where we need to go, just where we are in this moment.

    One reason for this is because so many of us are working so hard to not grow up, to not mature, but rather to stay where we are now so we don’t have to face the challenges of being out and mature, the challenges of being visible and responsible as leaders in our communities.

    Ms. Stanton has an interesting ride ahead of her, and I suspect she won’t understand it until she experiences it and internalizes it. I suspect that even hearing the stories of those who have gone through this purgatory is challenging, a bit too scary to engage.

    We grow and we learn, but until we engage, leaving our own world and entering a shared world, well, we are where we need to be.

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