It’s a rant. Yes, it is.
I had another of those dead-end conversations a couple of days ago, and I need to let off some steam. It’s the conversation I keep having, over and over (and over) again when I meet new trans women.
It’s the one where we compare notes, where I explain that I’m happily a tomboy, and then they tilt their head gently to one side, look at me with matronising indulgence, and tell how I shouldn’t worry, that as I become more feminised, of course I’ll eventually grow up and want to wear dresses, and make-up, and and and… be just like them, really.
And there doesn’t seem to be any way at all to counter this. These people are rock-solid in their conviction that the way they are transitioning is the “normal” way to do it, the right way. I get it. They are deeply invested in it being the right way, because it’s their way, and it’s cost them a lot personally to get down to doing it. I understand that. But the same goes for me – except I don’t impose editorial pressure on anyone else.
It’s not even as though they find me unacceptable – it’s more like they simply can’t imagine a woman who’s not like them, so just can’t see me or hear me at all, so they’re hanging a cardboard cut-out of Transfemina officinalis over the space they think I don’t occupy.
I suppose that one facet of this repetitive situation (or my reaction to it, anyway) is the naïve assumption I’m still trying to shake off that people who are queer/genderqueer will not be, in all other ways, very conservative and reactionary. But I do feel like I’m being engulfed in a tidal wave of aunties.
So clearly, I have my own prejudices to deal with. I find (and have always found) most conventional women’s clothing to be ridiculous and unattractive – I’ve certainly never been drawn to wearing it. There’s a special place of derision in my sour heart at the moment for the “waterfall cardigan” – which is like some awful badge of shame that middle-aged women are required to wear. I am (and have always been) drawn to the “masculine/androgyne” end of women’s clothing. Jeans, converse, stripy tees, shirts, ties, waistcoats, braces (that’s vests and suspenders, if you’re American, I think – but not in a hipster stylie). I like bright colours (apart from pink, shudder).
Hmm… when I’m on the receiving end of the femme-pep-talk as described above, I feel like a teenage girl who’s trying to explain to her older relatives that she’s a dyke. It’s like I’m being told “it’s just a phase.” *rolling of eyes*
Dammit, if I were 25, I’d want to look like this!!! ——>
Okay, I’m not, and thankfully I’m never going to try to pull that look off (I’ll just admire, worshipfully…)
But the women I’ve always wanted to be like have always been the more tomboyish ones. I don’t see why that’s so hard for some people to accept, to imagine.
Tantrum over, now I’m going to have breakfast.
(*PS: Transfemina officinalis is a wry gardening joke – it’s as if there’s a plant named Common Transwoman, instead of just 23 million varieties…)
PPS: Reading some of my earliest posts here, yes, I am aware that some of my more self-justifying declaratory statements are starting to repeat themselves 😦 – I will endeavour to keep this to a minimum…