Fascinating review by Charles Isherwood in the New York Times of a one person show called “The Girl I Left Behind Me,” where Jessica Walker and Neil Bartlett look at the history of male impersonators in the theatre, especially the English music hall.
The closing paragraph touched me
When the story broke that Annie Hindle had signed the marriage register as Charles, her audience took umbrage, believing that they’d been fooled all these years, and that Annie was really a man. As Ms. Walker notes with tender ruefulness, “By appearing as her true self, Annie had become a fraud.” Her career was finished.
That so reflects the challenge that I struggled with so long, the challenge of fitting into a box or being called a liar. Lie and be called honest, tell the truth and be called a liar. It’s so no win.
The question for me is the same: How do I feel safe making the choices of a woman? It’s a question many struggle with — being terrified people will feel betrayed if they see us as a woman born female — passing — , then discover she is born male and then feel betrayed and lied to.
The choices most trannys (born male) have discovered is
- to be well femaled — though that is rarely possible later in life, and requires we conceal our biology and history
- to only choose safe women’s choice, a kind of benign and sweet and impotent life that won’t trigger attacks,
- to make their status as tranny clear, staying on some level a man-in-a-dress, an eccentric individual. This requires that they not make totally woman choices, for that would communicate woman — they have to retain man choices to signal that they are not woman.
lets read these choices
- to lie
- to be silent and placating
- to live in no-man’s/no-woman’s land, apart from gender
I knew the questions 14 years ago.
I am still struggling with the answers.