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Scary trans monsters

Commentary: Trans Progressive

I am not a monster. I am not a creature of tooth or claw, scales or deformity – I am not any sort of monster that is an evil antagonist bent on chaos and destruction.

My transgender peers and I don’t prey on women and children in public restrooms or classrooms as some imagine. My peers and I are not the essence of the monstrous epithets and pejoratives that we have been called.

My transgender peers and I are not inhuman monsters; we are instead fully human.

I also know that I am perceived as a monster. If the sociological model’s definition of a situation is true – the definition which states “if a situation is perceived as real, it is real in its consequences” – then the perception that I’m a monster is real in its consequence.

How does one define transgender people as monsters? Well, this is how Conan O’Brien accomplished it in his June 12 monologue from Chicago, Ill.:

“Obviously one of Chicago’s nicknames is ‘The City Of The Broad Shoulders.’ Yeah. Yeah, which is much better than the name they almost went with – ‘The Unconvincing Tranny.’”

At that point Conan used his hands to outline the shape of an imagined trans woman with broad shoulders and a square body frame. Conan then dramatized a stiff hug and a short kiss, followed by facial expressions and body language to convey disgust and revulsion. He then saluted the imagined trans woman – as if to say this imagined trans woman is really a gay sailor.

The monstrous trans woman of Conan O’Brien’s imagining is one of stereotype; a burly gay man who pretends he is a woman; a parody of a woman. The most monstrous part of Conan’s description of trans women is not “passing” as female.

Conan O’Brien named his scary transgender monster “Unconvincing Tranny.”

Conan O’Brien has apologized for making a transphobic “joke” during the monologue portion of the June 12 broadcast of his late-night show on TBS. GLAAD officials contacted producers of the show after I reached out to GLAAD with news of the otherwise barely noticed slur against the transgender community.

The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) named their scary version of transgender monsters June 12 as well. In a fundraising eletter sent out by that religious right organization that day, they defined transgender monsters this way:

“Mary is a little, shall we say, confused …

“… but Mary isn’t confused about whether or not the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is going to allow someone like him to keep teaching your kids while he undergoes his transformation from ugly caterpillar into a beautiful … something or other …”

They included a fundraising photo of how they want society to view those trans women they believe are monstrous: a bad wig, thin make-up, and a nose ring and a visible beard line on a middle-aged face. And, the facial expression of their image of a transgender monster is one of her being on the edge of tears.

Later in the eletter they labeled trans people as “transgenders and she-males.”

TVC president, Andrea Lafferty named her scary transgender monsters in the eletter she signed as “something or others” and “she-males.”

Perhaps it’s time for the transgender activism of the monstrous. That’s not to embrace the idea that we are confused sexual, bathroom, or elementary school predators – that’s not to embrace the idea that we are men pretending to be women and therefore deserve to be the butt and brunt of jokes – but instead to embrace the monstrous activism of fighting back with rhetorical tooth and claw against those who define us as monsters. It would be embracing the monstrous activism of transgender “monsters” we choose to name “humans” – being not truly monsters at all.



Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=25753

Posted by LGBT Weekly on Jun 21, 2012. Filed under Bottom Highlights, Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

19 Comments for “Scary trans monsters”

  1. Fortunately, my world as a trans-woman is one where I’m surrounded by people who take me seriously as a woman and not a monster or joke. Even the new people entering into my life want to know me for wanting to know me–not to be entertained. I’m not a jester to them. I am a human.

  2. Living in the real world instead of some sub culture where what is freaky is normal, I have never seen any of the issues transgenders have seen.
    If only they would ether stay in the closet or have SRS and become real legal women instead of living some life that is a legal fiction all would be good.

    There are lots of less than perfect looking women in the world, so Autumn and the rest, why don’t you live your life as legitimate females instead of some other.

    Even the lesbians don’t accept you, so why force your way into female spaces while still being male bodied?

    We don’t want you in our spaces. any more than we want men who like being men in our spaces.

    • sd woman…correct you don’t live in the real world…you live in a bubble that you made and choose to live in, rejecting anything outside of the bubble as “freaky”. Here in realityland people come in all shapes and sizes and gender is a various as anything else. What you have is good fashioned case of ignorance and I suggest you “smart up” on a topic before you open your dumb trap and say something blantantly hurtful and stupid like you just did.

      • I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. My experience is the same as sd woman. I don’t live in a bubble. I live in the REAL world, as a woman, not a “transwoman.” Actually, in the real world, people overwhelmingly are either men or women. Yes, there are a few who choose to transgress gender norms, and that is exactly what sd woman is talking about. If you choose to go against society, you can expect people to react unfavorably. You can call those who do, “ignorant,” but I seriously doubt very many will agree.

        I always get a good chuckle when I encounter someone who chooses dress in a particularly outlandish manner, or to dye their hair some unnatural color, or behave in some completely bizarre fashion, and then take offense when people stare. I mean really, what do they expect?

    • “why force your way into female spaces while still being male bodied?”

      for the same reason you choose to attempt to ‘change’ who we are… BECAUSE WE CAN!

    • And excellent question, and one that can be summed up in three words…transition versus transgression.

  3. Eva
    There are only 2 kinds of people.
    Males who have a penis
    and
    Females who have a vagina.
    The rest is fantasy land.

    • This statement that seeks to affirm a sex and gender binary in terms of biology and/or shape of genitalia erases the valid life experiences of intersex people.

      • Sorry Autumn you are dead wrong.
        Show me your proof that is the case and I will show you hundreds of intersex people who will call you a liar.

        You can say anything you want to, even that you are female but back it up with proof, not fiction or hot air.

        We the tens of thousands of transitioned and intersex women know you cannot.

        • The very existence of the concept of intersex is based on the idea of the sex binary in terms of biology. And, it has to be kept in mind that even people who are intersex are actually part of the binary. Their genitalia may appear to be ambiguous, but when you get down to the details, there is no such thing as someone who is truly both sexes or truly neither sex. That is, it is simply not possible to have both ovaries and testicles in the same person since the tissue they differentiate from is the same.

          • This is very true.
            But while it may not be possible, at least in theory for a person to have both sets of reproductive organs, have one ovary and one testicle is not uncommon, maybe rare however it happens.

            The sad fact is Transgenders are an affront to feminists and especially lesbians. Transgenders represent the ultimate in male chauvinism forcing their way into women’s spaces like a repast forces his way into the very part of a female that sets her apart from any person male bodied. While I choose not to subscribe to much that is feminism I can understand the contempt of the radical feminists, and some straight traditional women.

        • Actually, there are no recorded cases of a human who was naturally a true hermaphrodite in the sense of having an ovary and a testicle. The closest are some who had what are called ova-testes, also known as “streak gonads,” which are pretty much non-functional and consist of mostly fibrous tissue. In another words, they are not so much a bit of both, but more a lot of nothing.

  4. Straw arguments never help one’s case. For example, I have seen very few actual claims that “transgender” people are seeking to prey on women and children in bathrooms. What I have seen, and what I happen to believe is a legitimate argument, is the idea that unrestricted access to bathrooms based on vague terms could make it easy for someone who does wish to prey on women and children in the bathrooms to do so without fear of recourse, at least before actual harm is done. To put it in simpler terms, someone who is not transgender can simply lie, claim transgender status, and there is nothing that would protect women from his presence. Such a person would not even have to change their apparel under laws that most seem to support. The fact that some seem to disregard the safety and feelings of women in this regard is also significant.

  5. just another tranny

    If a man enters a woman’s space while masquerading as a woman, does that fact that his reasons for being there are not nefarious, make it any less offensive to women?

    • I suppose if we were all mind readers it wouldn’t make any difference.

    • This is actually a good question. I suppose it depends on the individual woman. But, by and large, I imagine most women would be very uncomfortable with someone who is obviously a man masquerading as a woman being in women’s space, regardless of why he is there. And the fact that many transgender extremists cannot appreciate this issue is highly disturbing. I know early in my transition, one of my biggest concerns was the comfort of the other women I had to share the ladies room with. Once I realized that my presence was not causing a disturbance, I no longer worried about it, but I was very sensitive to it at first. Sadly, many have no such sensitivity.

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