What kind of girls are we?

(by Shannon Summers)

About ten years ago, I remember watching a Geraldo Rivera show entitled, "Sexy Transexuals and the Men Who Love Them". This was back in the heyday, when gorgeous tgirls were a regular feature on daytime talk television. *sigh* Whatever happened to that? Anyway, the premise of the show was simple enough. Present the two groups, explain a bit of the attraction. And of course, the girls on the show were totally delicious, sassy and rude, but with the most amazing legs you've ever seen. The guys ...well, they were dweebs and genetic misfits, and that is being generous.

The show itself, however, was a disaster. The audience (almost exclusively genetic girls) didn't like the tgirls and were overly critical of them right off the bat. Well, these gurls knew how to dish it out as well and got into a pissing match with the audience. At one point, a sweet (but somewhat homely) young black girl stood up and asked the transexuals on stage a few pointed questions. One of the tgirls turned on her, criticizing her looks, and said, "Why don't you read a fashion magazine?"

Well, the mob of angry women just howled! How utterly shallow!!! Then it became clear what the real offense was. The audience of genetic girls didn't accept them as women, and if fact they viewed them as a mockery, as a characature of womanhood. These so-called girls knew nothing of the pain of motherhood, of sacrifice, of accepting a lesser role in society. All they knew was how to dress like a slut and try to steal away their husbands and boyfriends. They were whores, representing the lowest element of sisterhood. They were shameful.

I try to remember this as I go out and present myself as a woman. I want my looks, my presentation, to be a homage to womanhood, not a mockery. I want respect and acceptance. Even when I do erotic shots, I want them to be Playboy beautiful, classy and elegant, never trashy. So far, I feel my approach is working, as I am getting the kind of reaction I desire. Most genetic girls have been very complimentary and seem to enjoy that I am respectful and take serious my journey into their world.

And that means a lot, coming from them.



Anonymous said…
Hey Shanny!

I know from working in TV and film that most of the t-girls on those shows are "hired to perform". They are primarily performers drawn from clubs and agencies and are paid to be characters. "The more show, the more glow" as they say. So although the image they portray of t-girls is fairly negative, I would bet that not many of them actually have that big of a chip on there shoulder. The problem is not with the girls, but with the TV industry catering to "the lowest common denominator". The easily entertained and unenlightened. But not all is lost. There is a girl on URNA, Simone C Lee in West Virginia, who I have talked with about a t-girl documentary series. I know that she will handle it with all the respect that it deserves.
Shannon said…
Hey Haily,

Yeah, I realize this. TV is just entertainment. That's why I can't buy into any reality shows. Are those contestents on Survivor really having a private conversation? With all the camera crew around?

That said, what interested me most about this show was the reaction from the audience. This I feel was worthy of some social commentary, hence the article. I was raised by an ardent feminist and am all too aware of women's struggle for respect and legitimacy in this society. Can our struggle for acceptance be that much different?

This is where, I feel, the presence of trashy CD culture undermines the transgender community so greatly. We want respect and acceptance for being who we are. Period. However, it's hard for society to respect transgirls when all they see aging man-whores in bad wigs playing with themselves.
Thanks so much for posting this article Shannon.

It is unfortunate that the media has propegated these stereotypes. I agree it undermines the transgender community, and it seems there really hasn't been anything noteworthy to balance things out. There has yet to be a common venue that does proper credit to the real spirit of classy, intelligent, beautiful transgendered ladies.

Until I was introduced to URNotAlone, I didn't even know people like you existed. I was as ignorant as the common masses about tgirls. All that I had seen were media examples such as the one you reference here, showing the glammed up barbie-dolls and trashy hookers... and always their affinity for men, never women.

Unlike so many of you, the ones who are seen in the pop culture and daytime t.v. are those who seek and thrive on being in the spotlite. They will often go to extremes to be noticed, and in doing so they compromise the integrity of the transgender community at large.

What is needed is for more authentic, intelligent trans women to step out of the closet and into the limelight so the world can see your true beauty. This is not an easy step, because most of you do not want special attention and recognition for your transgenderism.

Until some of you step up to the plate and publicly represent your community, the world will only get to see the aging man-whores in bad wigs, the shemale pornstars and the tgirl entertainers/hookers.

That's a real travesty because many of you are true examples of feminine/yin beauty, inside and out, and could be inspirations not only the trans community but humanity at large.

Thanks again Shannon for posting this article, and thanks even more for being what I consider to be a true credit to the feminine gender, not only in your look but in your personality, heart and spirit. You are a true gem, and we are so lucky to have you here on this blog with us.

Much love,
Dee Femina said…
Hi Girls

Yes, Shannon and Michele, I agree totally with both of you.

The typical portrayal of t-girls in the media and, for that matter in films, is generally that of either trashy hookers or sad psychotic hookers. Sadly the world does not get to see the true and full extent of the t-girl world and all its "normality". There have off course been films that have depicted crossdressers in a positive light (Tootsie and a few others), but I know from personal experience that the society around me saw those as "enjoyable but fictional fantasies created by Hollywood"...no really real at all.

So how do we change that?
Yes, we have to step out of the closet and demonstrate to society that we are normal people who are transgendered and who love all (or many) things that are feminine, including dressing in beautiful female clothing. Imagine if the suggested 5% - 10% of genetic male transgendered population started living their full complete selves in a normal manner? Society would then, in my opinion, see that we are in fact a normal minority group who have the same values, aspirations and contribution to make as everyone else. I have no doubt that this will be a really positive thing not only for the transgendered community, but also for society at large. The world and society needs to recognize the value and power of yin & yang as far as the genders are concerned. To a small extent society has accepted that women can express both their yin and yang sides (although it still hasn't fully allowed this to happen), but society is made almost no steps in allowing men to express their yin...it's better than in my father's generation, but in my view is still almost non-existent. This is not good and we won't fully develop as a human race until this is allowed to happen.

But...and this is a big BUT...it is sooooooo hard to come out of the closet and tell our loved ones, our friends and society who and what we are. I want to do it, but I suspect I may never fully come out of the closet. At a personal selfish level, the downside risks totally outweigh the upside benefits.

Well let's look at it this way, with a few brief examples.

a) I am transgendered and I have always been (even though I didn't realize it till about 12 months ago...at the age of 49!!!), and I know that one of the key things that attracted my wife to me was this compassionate, sensitive and...well, just the totally different side to my character to what she'd experienced with other guys. We've been together for 30 years and she still comments, almost every day, on the things I do that are so different to most other men. So I know she appreciates and loves my transgendered side, even though she doesn't know I'm transgendered...in fact she doesn't even know that the term exists...and she is an intelligent, well informed woman of the modern world. What if she couldn't accept my outward manifestation of my transgenderism...the crossdressing part? What if my 30-year relationship with my soulmate ended because she can't accept a crossdresser? I can't take that risk, even when all the logic and "heart" tells me that she will always love and respect me.

b) And then there's my business life. I know I lead, manage and operate in a fairly unique or at least different manner. It's different to my male colleagues and it's different to my female colleagues...and that's understandable seeing as I'm a mix between male and female (just my particular "position" on the TG spectrum). Both my male and female colleagues and bosses have always respected and appreciated my different leadership style. It's worked for me (mostly) and organizations and its people have benefited from it. But I think that if my male and female colleagues knew that I was transgendered, it wouldn't work anymore. They'd be putting me into a "he/she's different" box and would be questioning and judging every decision I make. Suddenly I would no longer be effective. I think both males and females would stop accepting my leadership style. At the moment males accept me and my different style because...well because I'm male and they don't have the intuitive ability to even realize that I have an element of female in my management style; and females in business accept me because I'm respectful of them and never ever act in a chauvinistic manner, and further more they feel really comfortable with my management style without realizing why...so ultimately they accept me because I'm a male with a management style they feel comfortable with. In both instances though, they accept me because I'm male.
Will things change if they knew I was transgendered AND I also came to work in my female look and clothing...I think it will. At a purely personal and selfish level, my business life would be over.

So what do I do?

All I can do, for the moment in any case, is continue to live my personal and business life as a man physically, but with my transgendered characteristics fully "in action". I really believe that "I and we" have a gift as transgendered people and I am using my gift to create a better world for the people around me, both in my personal life and business life.

And I am going out more and more while dressed en femme. I dress normally...nothing slutty or tarty. And I act normally. I'm not out to pick up men or women for that matter. Just a businessperson traveling on business, having dinner and a few drinks. People notice me, and I can see them whispering and sometimes sniggering, but I am also hoping that they are starting to see and realize that "hey, maybe that's not so strange". In fact I'm sure that every time I'm out and about en femme, that at least a few more people are learning and seeing that it's not so strange.

Should I and do I have a responsibility to do more? Do I have an obligation to tell my wife why I'm special and different to her? Should by business colleagues be enlightened to the fact that my unique and appreciated management style come from me being transgendered?

The answer to all of that is YES!

But then I come back to the personal fears and self-preservation...and it's so hard.

I know one day I will tell my wife. And I know that one day I will be prepared to tell the world who and what I am. But I'm not ready to do that.

PS. I think (in fact I know) that my son is also transgendered, and to make the world a better place for him, I will have to stand up and be counted one of these days.
Dee Femina said…
Sorry about the typos and grammatical errors in that previous post...damn! I really need to type it in Word, read and check it properly and only then copy it into the Comments, shouldn't I?!

And my apologies for the rambling style...but that I can't fix...that's me, Dee! :)
adarabeth said…
wow, dee femina...
what u say girl...wow so dead on...
there is reason why we are here as we are... in one sex or the other, as one gender or both... we have a place on this world and in this time to influence from whatever station we are in... my female self - although not always visable by the way i dress - constantly influences the minds of those in my world to evolve beyound the stereotypes sometimes deeply ingrained... (I work in an industry dominated by 99% men... i came from an industry dominated by >85% women...) my influence taken in view of one who recognizes and celebrates both genders is amplified and that is what kind of girl i am. But without the boy - what difference would i make?

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