““If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable. So the first thing I can do is try to present myself well. I want to dress well. I want to look good. When I go out, as Kim says, you’ve got to rock it because the paparazzi will be there.”
— Caitlyn Jenner, Time Magazine
In my experience, if you are out there and all people can see is a guy-in-a-dress making claims, it can make them uncomfortable.
Any notion that somehow, your expensive and highly polished exterior makes you not look like a man-in-a-dress to some people is just your entitled fantasy, a kind of arrogance that you are different than those other, uglier queers.
No matter how slick their packaging, every transperson has a passing distance (1998), a zone within which their biology and history is revealed.
Do people like looking at people they see as pretty more than people they see as ugly? Sure, but does that make the pretty people somehow better humans than the people with a rougher appearance? I’m guessing that if you spent millions of dollars on your looks you want to believe that it does.
Thinking that somehow, your expensive and contrived packaging makes people more comfortable with the idea that you are trans, that you were born and went through puberty with a body that doesn’t match your gender presentation, that you break the rules of God and decent society as some see it, is just masturbatory arrogance.
Is pretty easier for people to take than ugly? Sure. But does pretty change the underlying truth? Only an image manipulator, a marketer, a televisual dweeb would make that claim.
The Guy-In-A-Dress Line (1999) is where the cutting edge around trans has always lain. What makes you a woman, what keeps you stuck as a guy-in-a-dress?
Some people want to believe that it is their cosmetic intervention that makes the difference, be that expensive padding, facial manipulation or reconfigured genitals. This is what sets them apart from those fake, ugly, queer trannys who embarrass us all.
“I have spent everything to assimilate, to fit into social expectations,” they seem to say, “and those people who failed to make themselves pretty to others eyes, well, they make people uncomfortable with the way they let their queerness be visible.”
In my experience, though, the real transformation is always inside.
Transvestism is about changing your clothes.
Transsexualism is about changing your body.
Transgender is about changing your mind.
It’s not about claiming that you didn’t express yourself well, that the media took your words out of context. It is about actually understanding the meaning of deeper connection, of seeing what is happening and not what you want to be happening.
Trans is challenging to people who love walls, comforting binaries which support their worldview.
And no matter how much you turn yourself to plastic to hide beneath pretty, your truth is out there.
And embracing it can set you free.