Them Hypersexualized Trans Women
Trans Call-In Radio, Episode 2
Trans Call-In Radio, Episode 2
[All Trans Call-In Episodes are adaptations of actual exchanges I’ve had with real, live persons. Go here for the previous episode.]
(Bethany): In this episode of Trans Call-In Radio, we deal with kooky notions of how trans women should present themselves!
(Caller #1): Hi, Bethany! Someone should open a beauty consultancy for young transgenders who seem to think that femininity is defined by Mae West or Burlesque! So many adolescent boys making the transition exaggerate the sexual aspect of being feminine.
(Bethany): [Ruh-Roh look on face] First of all, they’re not “boys”; they’ve always been girls. They’re now courageously stepping out in glory.
I love “hypersexualized,” “trying too hard,” “chasing after an illusory female identity” women … because we’re WOMEN, each and every fucking one of us. And we get to be women in WHATEVER FUCKING WAY WE ARE WOMEN.
(Caller #1): Since I’ve worked at LGBTQ clubs and have gotten to know probably more transgenders than 95% of Americans, I have some insight.
(Bethany): [really Ruh-Roh look on face] Then you should know that “transgender” is an adjective and never a noun. We’re PERSONS, not things.
(Caller #1): Yeah, sure. Anyway, boys transitioning from adolescence to maturity as transgenders don’t have role models except hypersexual characterizations of what it means to be a woman. They operate like all women have huge uplifted breasts, bulbous lips, and mascara … so much mascara. They adopt this image because, in their attempt to “become” a woman, they have little to go on.
(Bethany): Let me break in here for a MUCH-NEEDED message from our sponsor — Transbuprofen®, the pain-reliever for trans folk!
(Sponsor): Transbuprofen® brings you Real-Life TransPain Rescue #207 — the Would-Be “Ally” Who Makes A Better Enemy Than A Friend. Transbuprofen®’s remedy is to just blink your heavily-mascaraed eyes and think peaceful thoughts. Engaging these folks is almost as fun as trying to persuade James Dobson that the Bible doesn’t prohibit homosexuality. But, if you feel called to challenge wanna-be allies, do NOT pull any punches.
(Bethany): [nauseated look on face] Caller #1, your having been in contact with trans folk doesn’t privilege you to assess us. Declarations like yours come off as “cis-splaining.”
(Caller #1): Cis-splaining? No! I want to help! Too many transgenders go into prostitution to feel wanted and loved. Being female doesn’t mean they need a self-image that exudes, or makes a living through, sex.
Why don’t we say that a cis person has a warped self-image because they’re wearing a dracula costume for Halloween?
(Bethany): [taking four Transbuprofen®] Dr. Leson N. Humanity, our resident expert, do you want to take a swing at this?
(Dr. Humanity): [slugging back a fifth of Maker’s Mark, then shaking his head] Bethany, I wouldn’t touch this huge uplifted breast with a 50-foot pole.
(Bethany): [blinking] Gee, thanks, Doc.
Ahem. Where to begin?
Caller #1, your term, “self-image” reduces trans persons to costumes. We don’t “masquerade” any more than you do (maybe much less than you do!).
You say trans women have no role models except “hypersexual characterizations of what it means to be a woman.” You miss that the trans women you mention are perfectly aware of their chosen presentation’s source. After all, they’re going out to a club, which, by its nature is hypersexualized.
That these trans women present themselves this way doesn’t have to be 1:1 with their self-perceived and self-declared identity. Thinking so is like shaming sexual assault victims — “They dressed that way ‘cuz they wanted to be raped.” Why don’t we say that a cis person has a warped self-image because they’re wearing a dracula costume for Halloween?
(Caller #1): ‘Cuz’ they’re just playing.
(Bethany): So trans persons don’t get to play or dress as they want without being accused of warped self-image? Try donning feminine attire as a trans woman — I guarantee you I’ve had to make decisions as to whether I “pass” in order to save my life or, at the least, elude those who will silently, vocally, or via battery assail me for having a warped, hypersexual self-image, when it’s nothing of the sort.
I stopped doing that second-guessing shit of myself a long time ago. My criterion for what I wear is what a cis person thinks of: 1) Is this comfortable to wear in this weather/setting? and 2) Do I fucking look good to ME? Don’t worry so much about trans people, Caller #1. Ponder instead why this bugs YOU so much.
My criterion for dressing for what I wear is what a cis person thinks of: 1) Is this comfortable to wear in this weather/setting? and 2) Do I fucking look good to ME?
(Caller #1): What about trans girls who do prostitution to feel wanted and loved?
(Bethany): Trans women tossed out of their homes, with no access to food and shelter, and denied employment hell yes are unloved and unwanted. But they do NOT seek sex work as a replacement for love. They’re SURVIVING; feeling loved, accepted, and wanted are mere niceties in comparison. Witness the high suicide rate among trans persons — many of us conclude no better day will come. Others of us self-numb because SURVIVAL doesn’t afford us the luxury of quaint analysis. We hurt. To survive is to go on hurting. No wonder some of us numb it with forms of self-oblivion — ‘cuz raw survival doesn’t help us enjoy merely surviving.
That I’ve never been a sex worker or self-abuser doesn’t mean I don’t know these harrows — just that I was privileged and spared what others sadly go through. For 54 years, though, all I was doing was surviving — joining any group, any faith, any club, any tribe to give myself the illusion that I was accepting myself and thriving. That’s the masquerade we are DONE with donning. We wore that costume because we’ve been told we’re abominations, that our self-image is warped and hypersexualized, that WE’RE JUST NOT RIGHT ENOUGH TO BE WORTHY OF LIFE.
(Caller #1): I’m not saying you aren’t worthy of life — you just have very little to go on when it comes to being women.
(Bethany): We have EVERYTHING to go on because we ARE women. The only reason anyone accuses us of not being women or not being the “right kind” of woman is because society has told the same shit to ALL women for centuries. That’s misogyny — cis men feeling threatened by and trampling the feminine.
Fuck that noise. I love “hypersexualized,” “trying too hard,” “chasing after an illusory female identity” women … because we’re WOMEN, each and every fucking one of us. And we get to be women in WHATEVER FUCKING WAY THAT WE ARE WOMEN.
The only reason anyone accuses us of not being women or not being the “right kind” of woman is because society has told the same shit to ALL women for centuries. That’s misogyny — cis men feeling threatened by and trampling the feminine.
(Caller #1): You don’t have to be so touchy about it. So you’re a woman.
I’m not anyone’s definition of womanhood beyond the one I have of Bethany, me, myself, I.
(Bethany): Caller #1, go touch yourself. To help you with that, we’re sending you a year’s supply of Transbuprofen® and Dr. Leson N. Humanity’s unfinished bottle of Maker’s Mark. [Dr. Humanity snores in background.]
Listeners, my story is no one else’s and, as such, can never be a template for anyone. An account, yes, as to how one woman became aware of her true identity, but not an exemplar for others. We get to be who we want. I’m not trying to be a woman, ‘cuz I’ve always been Bethany, whether I or anyone else knew it. I’m not anyone’s definition of womanhood beyond the one I have of Bethany, me, myself, I.
That’s all till the next Episode of Trans Call-In Radio when we talk to a Catholic priest about trans identity!
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