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.

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Not Transitioning Is Easier

If I were still passing as a man in the world, life would be so much easier. Not better, mind you. Life now is better. But certainly not simpler. Certainly not easier.

Shopping? Easier.

Relationships? Easier.

Work? Easier.

Priviledge? Much easier.

Parenting? Easier (not better, but easier).

But life is better. I am happy being me. I accept the complications because at the end of the day, when I go to sleep, I am mostly comfortable in my skin. My spouse pointed out to me the other day just how unhappy I was in my simpler life. Before she knew the truth of me, she knew that I was suffering. But it was easier to suffer in silence.

Easier, not better.

But there are times I reflect on this life of mine and weigh the ease of living against the complexity of living well. Easy is sometimes appealing in retrospect. It’s hard to remember pain when it’s so far gone. I see pictures of an apparently happy me, videos of a guy good at not showing the darkness inside and he doesn’t seem all that unhappy. I know he was, I was. But I don’t remember the pain. I know I had it, but I don’t remember it.

It’s easy to remember the good things. Those are the events and people who are worth holding on to. It’s natural to forget the pain, what the pain felt like. Like a bruise, it hurt in the moment, but now the moment’s gone and there’s nothing left but the memory of being hit and even that slowly fades over time.

Some complications are more painful than others. Some leave more lasting injury. Life is not always good.

But in the balance, I’d rather take my lumps as they come now. Life is better.

On Trans Fakers

Strange but true: some people who say they are trans (or were trans…) are lying.

Hmmmm.

Seems a strange thing to do, but the internet lends itself to strange fictions. It allows people to pretend to be other people. It is a game of sorts, role playing in a world where most of the characters are who they say they are. It’s not just a trans thing. It’s an internet thing and it happens in every corner.

But trans fakers are interesting to me. Some are easy to spot. Some are more difficult.

For instance, when I was in recovery from my surgery, I was befriended on Facebook by a person who was friends with some of my other trans acquaintances there. This person was very sweet and her positive messages were nice to hear whilst I was convalescing. One more supportive voice among many and I didn’t question it. We take all the positive energy we can, especially when healing.

And this person kept up with me for a time. I was interesting as I healed I suppose. But after a time, the messages stopped coming. Someone else was in recovery I suppose.

This person posted a lot of pictures up on FB and they were always of a young,  beautiful woman who was enjoying her life and, to be fair, I would never have read her as trans except that she said so. Additionally, an awful lot of space was spent discussing her marvelous breasts and it was kind of weird to me. I eventually turned off her feed. It bored me.

And now it has come out that this person is a faker, a role player who has been at it for a long time and I wonder at the dedication to the play.

The same way I wonder at any of the other fakers, the ones who claim trans identities for any number of reasons that I am not qualified to identify (there are a great number of lay psychologists out there who know a term or two to apply and are eager to do so…I’m not one of them). I’m not entirely sure why this would be the community to choose to role play within except that trans people on the interwebz do tend to be chatty and, in general, do not question the validity of someone else’s identity…

Oh. I wrote that. Ha.

Perhaps it is because there are so many questioning the validity of others that it is easy to turn this kind of criticism around as a spiteful or jealous attack or an attack by someone who feels they have the right so say who is or who is not trans.

This makes me wonder if these fakers are completely dishonest about their trans identity. Perhaps the only way they can express their trans identities in their lives is through this online role playing. Should I feel for them if this is the case? Does their online fiction make my reality less valid or damage my ability to live in this world?

It hasn’t directly as of yet that I know of. Perhaps their actions slowly chip away at the overall validity of trans people everywhere.

What I do know is this. A relative stranger on FB who had some validity because she knew people that I knew befriended and comforted me, was kind and lovely and chatty and ultimately boring and banal. And it turns out she was not really who she said she was.

And life goes on with no real harm done.