Tuesday, June 28, 2005

An Opportunity

(by Rhenaiya Jesson)

Although anyone (with intelligence) can agree that there are good and bad, moral or immoral people of every faction of society, every person is subjected to an imprinted stereotype. We are equally susceptible to perpetuate such thinking as we are to being victimized by it. The human mind is very much like a computer and when we think of something in particular, like a search engine our brains summon everything it can find related to that topic. If you were to run a search on the internet right this very moment you might get a good example of how transgenderism is viewed by society.

While you may find educational sites and the profiles or stories of ordinary transgendered people living ordinary lives (sounds nice), by and large the content encountered is pornographic, degrading and offensive in its abundance. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no right to judge other people for their actions and have no such desire. It is simply that I find it hard not to take note of an imbalance in how we as transgendered people, women especially, are being represented. These sentiments are not exclusionary and are meant to include all people who find themselves in the “grey” area of gender.

An obvious problem for transgendered people is that our most successful and admirable predecessors often choose to downplay their transgenderism if not completely conceal it. Even though I can empathize with the desire to be safe within the scope of social perception, this course of action does nothing positive for our cause (yes, we have a cause). In fact, I’d be so bold as to say that it has a negative effect by reinforcing the notion that transgenderism is wrong and needs to be hidden from view. When this is paired with the overt and explicit sexuality of pornography it’s no wonder such a one-sided perspective exists.

Maybe it would be better if in the erotic films, our transgendered woman arrived home from her chosen profession and after unwinding a bit made love to her significant other, talking about their feelings afterwards (it happens, believe me). It paints a more favorable picture than the woman who has sex with the cable guy, pizza guy, plumber, electrician, telephone repairman, gardener and mailman…..at the same time (does that really happen? The poor woman’s house must be falling apart to need all those professionals).

Now I have to be clear, I have nothing against erotic films or the people who express themselves sexually. It’s obvious that there is so much more to us. I have no contempt for anyone based on something as shallow as the clothes they wear or the sex they have. I merely feel that as transgendered women, we have an opportunity and perhaps a responsibility to one another to balance the way society perceives us. I know there are others who feel the same way, who wish to eliminate the unfavorable stereotype that has been rendered.

We are misunderstood from the moment we admit to being gender dysphoric, we are labeled and then reduced to the fragmented remainder, rounded down. We cannot change the world but we can change ourselves. We can’t expect people to make an effort to learn, but we can make an effort to teach them.

Rhennea Jesson

3 comments:

Devi said...

By its very nature, feminine attire is sensuous and quite often erogeous as well. I can't deny being aroused frequently when I'm dressed, and at the very least, my emotions are heightened by the constant feel of the garments against me.

But for me this has never been about putting on a couple of token pieces of lingerie and frantically attempting to relieve myself; I'd feel really stupid doing that. That is partly because it never started out that way - I have been fascinated by women's wear well before puberty and have known my interest in dressing just for the emotional expression of my feminine side.

If someone starts out down the CDing path with the clothes essentially being apparel sex toys, its unlikely that in his fetishionistic high that person will see them the same way another TG whose experience is rooted in a fascination from her childhood days, or one who genuinely believes herself to be a woman in a man's body and acts like that woman. Note my use of his and her - I don't really see the first case as an expression of 'her', while the latter are.

I do agree with the statement that TGs who carry themselves and express their feminine selves in a dignified manner can do a world of good for this community. I also believe that the broad acceptance of the community will primarily lie in how well they are accepted by the the 'original' members of the gender they are expressing, i.e. the GGs. Acceptance by GGs at large is IMHO the most crucial step towards acceptance of the TG community by society.

adarabeth said...

my take...wow, that woman must really be worn out after receiving all of those services...

You are so right Renaiya...we cannot change the world, just ourselves (that by itself changes the world...:) and that is the responsibility we have for our cause... to look within, AND be on the out in whatever way that may be... You are brave enough to step out in the world and walk the talk - Congratulations on that ! By being who you are and doing what u are doing u are showing the world we exist and making the steps u walk easier for others... including me... Thank you for having the courage and responsibility as a transwoman to be recognized. I know your efforts are making a difference...

Adarabeth

Alexis Rene said...
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