My Transgender Tangent

‘My Transgender Summer’ has me asking a lot of questions. Most of these questions end with a shake of my head, a mumble then a frustrated wail of ‘I don’t get it.’

I am an open-minded individual but for the life of me I cannot get my head around transgenderness. Please someone help me?

This is clearly my failing as a human to understand. People with a lot more smarts than me see it as a an actual real issue and the NHS wouldn’t go about spending £50, 000 chopping and inverting willies unless they actually believed that it would help someone improve their quality of life.

However this programme and the transgender people I know have not helped me. And here is why:

1.) How on earth do people know what it is like to be the other gender, how can they possibly have any idea what it is like to have a completely different body to the extent that it is all they desire. I could understand if the brain was pumping testosterone around a lady body like there was no tomorrow. But to look at a thing, say you desire that thing, then endeavour to get that thing. Is that not just glorified clothes shopping?

2.) An old friend of the family went through the change a few years ago and the way she talked about her new life as a woman sounded a little unhealthy in my humble ears. It was all shopping and coffee and ladies who lunch.

I have yet to find a woman who does this.

Even on the programme I find the youngest one who has the bleach blonde hair, wants the massive boobs is looking to play a caricature of being a lady. If I had met a transgender person who was really mumsy or resembled any woman I know I would probably understand but they seem to want to achieve this other, a heightened version of femininity.

3.) The girl to boys seem to be transfixed on getting hair. ‘I must have more hair’ ‘I am jealous of his beard’ etc. NO ONE WANTS HAIR ON THEIR FACE, JUST TO SHAVE IT OFF AGAIN EVERY OTHER DAY.

4.) I asked a former psychiatric nurse her thoughts on the matter. What she found was that the transgender people she met had little interest in the day to day life of being the opposite gender but they had set the operation as a life goal, as a thing they must have above all others. Kind of like achievement points?

I can’t help but feel like a hypocrite. If someone were to write a similar piece about how they don’t understand homosexuality, I would be up in arms! ‘Why don’t you understand?YOU FOOL!’ I would yell. But then again in my head homosexual and transgender people, although normally lumped in as one, are very different. My love of the same-sex is part chemical, part social conditioning and part trial and error where as the need to be the opposite sex is a full-blown pump my body full of chemicals, intensive surgery, life changing decision making process.

But when all is said and done, as long as fully grown up adults are making decisions that don’t hurt anyone else who am I to say anything?

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6 Responses to My Transgender Tangent

  1. Richard says:

    Your last two lines are the best and sum it up. Who are we to point the finger? We can only try to understand the anguish that some of these men and women go through that drives them to change their gender. It’s no easy journey for them and it’s sad that even in the LGB community there is a lot of ignorance and fear around transgender issues. I think My Transexual Summer has done a great job at shedding some light on the subject and provoking discussion.

    • David says:

      I think the programme has been fantastic in that it doesn’t show these people to be any more weird or freeky than anyone else. That along with the journey they are going on they are dealing with broken relationships, family, working and all that jazz. It is purely my own lacking that I don’t understand how someone can feel so completely uncomfortable in their own skin and then be so positive of the solution that they will go to the lengths that they do.

      • Jay says:

        The first thing I can say about this post of yours is: I totally hear you.
        I too consider myself a very open-minded person, and respectful above all, and I also had a hard time trying to completely digest the transgender subject at first…
        I’ve always believed the only thing that should not be respected, under any circumstances, is disrespect itself. I suppose the part that affects you and me the most as men we are, about this whole transgender situation, is the fact that we consider the sole idea of chopping off our dicks, disrespectful to our own selves to begin with. I’m pretty sure you enjoy being a man as much as I do, and wouldn’t give a part of your body for anything in the world (specially THAT one)… Therefore, it is only natural that we have trouble seeing transgenders, as nothing else than people with a huge lack of self acceptance, to say the least.
        There is something else I think you missed to mention in your post, which I consider to be very important: these people are CONVINCED to be men and women “trapped inside a body with the wrong gender”. I mean, I’m sorry, but to me this concept sounds nothing but psychotic! If you have an apple, and could take the skin off, dress it like a peach, and actually make it taste like a peach, there is a chance you can fool someone and make them believe it is a peach they’re eating, yes… but to me, it will always be an apple in disguize.
        On the other hand, being gay, I’m also able to understand these people didn’t choose to feel/think the way the do, and that life would certainly be easier for them if they could just adapt to the bodies they were born with.
        If in the end the only thing that matters is that we find a way to be happy while we’re in this world, craziness doesn’t seem that important anymore, as long as it doesn’t interfere with other people’s hapiness… if you think about it, pretending do be/feel something you’re not for people’s entertainment is also pretty crazy, but the most famous people in the world are actors 😛

        • Jay says:

          Quite some typos there, I’m sorry. I realised maybe it wasn’t that clear in the end… but what I meant is, If I myself, having every possible logic reason not to understand transgenders, could finally come to accept their choice in life as a perfectly valid path to happiness, there is no reason why anyone else should have a problem doing so either.
          That was a very long reply, hahah… thank you for reading, and best wishes for 2013.

          • Rui says:

            I try not to take offense to tinhgs but I may find the efforts by the HRC to censure this show or impose their views of the world on others as a form of prior restraint.As a constitutional conservative, libertarian, cross dresser I tend to get peeved at anyone’s attempt to stifle or shout down free speech. I understand that there is a difference between governmental sanctioned prior restraints and those that arise organically in the private sector but I think that bullying tactics by HRC are misplaced.I am a master/mistress of the remote control and in an instant I can zap off any program that I choose not to watch.I do not find comic drag to be offensive. I never thought to be offended by Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari when they did a similar show a generation ago. Robin Williams did not bug me in Mrs. Doubtfire.I am not a fan of productions that show men dressed as women for evil.What little I do know of ‘Work It’ the show seems fairly innocent.Two guys are unemployed for a year. One is single but the other has a wife and daughter to support. In order to feed and shelter his family he gets a job as a woman. It also seems that there is a theme that men in this situation learn to be more sensitive as a result of their living in a woman’s world.I am not sure I will watch the show since I do not tend to watch sitcoms but from what I know I think this is a reasonable undertaking by ABC.PatPS: I am at least somewhat interested in seeing how the professional hair and wardrobe experts do their job in transforming the guys into presentable professional sales women.

  2. Sue Jones says:

    I’m just overflowing with words today aren’t I? I wish I’d have seen this programme in order to comment on specifics and also I realise this post is almost a year and a half old.
    Here’s my thoughts anyway. My maternal grandfather was transgendered (male to female) born in the early 1900’s and was eventually able to go through with surgery in the 1960’s. This is after living a massive chunk of her life unhappy and confused and utterly convinced she was the wrong gender, she couldn’t relate to her body as a male and way back then this was of course, extremely taboo and there were very few points of contact to get any assistance. Under pressure from various people and society, she tried various ways to ‘cope’ and find a way to live happily, including trying to live as a straight man; marrying and having 2 children and living as a gay man, hoping that somewhere she would find her place and contentment. At one point in the 1950’s she even had to endure barbaric electric shock treatment after her illegal, homosexual ‘lifestyle’ was discovered. I cannot even begin to imagine what she suffered at the hands of such cruelty and all of my memories are of a very sweet, sensitive, loving person who wouldn’t have harmed a fly. Of course I realise he can’t have been perfect and there is a tendency to become over sentimental towards loved ones after they’ve passed but still, other than my father who is bigoted about everything and everybody, everyone’s memories are similar.
    She had always felt this way, from as far back as she could recall and always felt out of step in her own life but the drive to become a female never went away; she barely understood it herself. Eventually she sought out help and surgery abroad and fulfilled her wish to become female, finally finding a level of contentment, although by this time various family members/friends had dropped along the wayside so it must have been somewhat hollow. But still, through all of this she STILL had to do it, still knew it was the right thing for her, even at this cost and all power to her for doing it. Other than missing her, I mentally high five her courage in not giving up. I’m very proud to be related to her.
    I understand your comments about the heightened femininity and wonder if some of this comes from having to live for so long in the ‘wrong’ body that when you finally feel right, each and every part is embraced and celebrated as so much has ben missed.
    But what do I know? All I wish for anyone, regardless of gender or sexuality is respect and acceptance – equality. I’m not sure it even matters whether we understand it or not.

    Sue xxx

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