Saturday, January 9, 2010


So I woke up this morning completely freaked out that I'd said I would try and pass if we made it to regionals.

Mostly because the concept is actually quite terrifying. I think I would be fine with everything except going to the men's bathroom. I realized that my plan to spend a day in the city as a man would ultimately include using the restroom, and I would have to use the men's room, and that whole concept is very scary.

Men are not like women. If a trans-woman came into the women's restroom and didn't quite pass, the women might be a little creeped out, might talk amongst themselves, might laugh about it in a freaked out way on the way home in the car - men are not so. If men suspect something like that, there are some who would say something. Might do something. Might hurt me.

Maybe it's just how I've been interested in The Laramie Project or the movies I've seen where the trans guy is killed in the alley by the people in the town. Maybe my fears are really totally unfounded. I mean, if I went to a city like DC where the majority of people I would see are tourists, I'm not offending anyone, and tolerance is a huge value in America right now, so maybe I would be okay.

Either way, if I do it, I will be bringing a bunch of guy friends with me.

I realized on thinking about all of this how brave David is (my character). To risk your LIFE because you want to feel like who you honestly believe you were meant to be - that's a big deal. The more I think about it the more I understand the statement that "no one would choose this". That trans-gender is not a choice. It may be other things, but I don't believe it is a choice to have those feelings so strongly that you decide to act upon them. Following through - yes, this is a choice, but feeling the NEED to change your gender - not so much. What a horrifying concept - to try to pass. Somewhat thrilling if you make it, but what happens to you if you don't? It's different than doing something where you might get nabbed by the police, or something where your mother will yell at you and you might get grounded. This is risking your life.

As I've said before, there are certain societal paradigms and people will go to great lengths to put others back in their places. It's like that woman who said nothing when her son called me ugly because I "[looked] like a boy]". How much more would people like that woman act in such a manner if someone were SO far outside the paradigm that they would try to pass as an actual man when they were biologically a woman? The thought is beyond words for me. And say what you wish about someone who is trans-gendered about any other thing, but don't say they are cowardly.


To add to this post, I just found out that it is illegal in many states to an other restroom than the one to which you are biologically assigned. So, whether you identify as a man or not, you are still required by law to use the women's restroom and thus for a transgendered woman in the women's restroom. There is a very interesting opinion page here, for further reading on the subject.


Caitlin said...

Have I ever talked to you about the class I took in college where we studied the Bugis culture of Sulawesi? They recognize 5 separate genders (feminine female, feminine male, masculine female, masculine male, and "bissu" - simultaneously male and female and regarded as a spiritually advanced figure). We basically spent a semester breaking down the meaning of gender distinctions and trying to figure out their purpose and function. Super interesting discussion, especially in a Christian college context with a really liberal professor.

Missy said...

We should discuss this sometime.

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