The Straw Trans Person

When I started transitioning and blogging about transitioning back in Ought-Nine, there were a lot of opinions about who got to be trans and it often seemed like if someone was not your particular brand of trans then they weren’t trans at all. They were fakers, pretenders or people who thought they were but were not what they thought because who they thought they were was not in line with what they were supposed to think they were. There was always something about how old you could be or what you had to lose or what you had to be willing to go through. You could not be this and had to be that or vice versa.

One’s personal trans identity was correct and all others were suspect. Trans people would find other like-minded trans people and would fight with one another. Some still do. But back when I started blogging about this on my old blog, which I wiped away because it became all too negative and I became all too negative (I was just as responsible for some of the flaming as others…bad habit of mine which would sometimes result in my trans identity being negated…a very common thing for people to do, negate others). Back when I started blogging, it was much nastier in some respects. I think a old of the old Sisters finally gave up and went back to being stealthy. Maybe I’m just not privy to their stealthy hang-outs where they continue to negate others to each other…

In any case, it’s why I gave up blogging on my old blog and made this blog, to give myself a place to ruminate from time to time without all the old drama.

Right now, however, is an interesting time to be trans. But interesting times are not always positive. It just feels like all eyes are on us, for good or ill. It’s the “transjenner” moment, where a very very famous person transitions publically and everyone makes that person the straw man for their arguments for or against or about trans people. (I did not make up transjenner, for the record).

One that I want to address, and I will address them as I read them in the near future, is that, as a 65 year old famous wealthy white person, Jenner’s transition is not what the average trans person has gone through or will go through.

I wrote about this idea of one-size-fits-all transitioning in one of my first posts on this blog. It was one of the first kind of fights that I witnessed and I’m sad to see it still persists. It is the fallacy that TRANS LIFE SUCKS. You’ve heard it. Trans people don’t get to keep anything. They will lose everything. Trans life is inherently tragic. Jenner cannot be a spokesperson for trans folk because their transition is completely unlike everyone else’s and, therefore, not the tragic paradigm.

Well, for one, I watched the interview and there was a lot of pain there. And while Jenner put themself in front of the camera all their life, it doesn’t change the fact that being hounded and taunted by paparazzi, being caricatured and lampooned on TV shows and magazine covers, cannot be pleasant. We all suffer differently, but not all suffering is tragic. Does Jenner speak for me? Nope. But neither does Janet Mock or Jazz or Chaz or Jennifer Boylan (although she comes closer to me in many regards).

They do, however, speak to a public that has little actual knowledge of who trans people are. They provide a brave face for all of us who are not out in front, taking public hits and their work will hopefully keep us from taking physical and mental abuse, help bring the next generation up in a better world (which I believe they already are as far as acceptance is concerned…it’s a world where Bruce Jenner can transition publically and receive some measure of positive public support…and it is not all positive. It’s not too hard to find the relative shit ton of negative press. I won’t link to it. But it’s there I promise you).

We are not all the same. We have differing levels of privilege and a wide variety of experiences. both common and unique. You may reject Jenner for whatever reason you wish, but don’t discount what makes them the same as every other trans person. You don’t have to like or respect the person, but don’t negate their trans identity.