Where is the transgender voice I asked? Everything in life stems from two things: love or fear. ‘Transgender’ is going mainstream says the Daily News a month or so ago in a big headline. Maybe in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, or New Orleans. But I can’t imagine in the heartland they understand what transgender truly is, nor the differences of the various categories; TV, CD, TS, She-Male, etc. For that matter, most people don’t, including many in the community itself.
When I attended the Transgender Rights forum I was dressed in wedge heels, jeans, and a little black midriff top. That day, more than any other, I was very comfortable with the fact that I was a guy dressed as a female. What if I awoke to find that everybody was okay with that? Instead of wearing my pants, I wore a dress. I am not talking about tolerance or being polite here, I am talking about perception. What if everyone grew up to believe it’s okay? After all, it is only clothing and perhaps the way we carry ourselves.
An effeminate man is not a problem for anybody, but let him put a dress on and big trouble. Is it the perception of his gender that creates the stir, or does he challenge everyone else’s?
A girl can shave her head, wear pants and army boots and no one will look twice. Society has grown accustomed to it. But a man acting feminine and wearing feminine clothes; it still shocks the system. Why should this be?
I think back to the Rights Forum and hear some of the attendees saying “we have to educate people, they need to know who and what we are”. This I believe is true. I have always believed that all things stem from Love and Fear. People are afraid because they do not understand, they don’t understand because no one explains. But with so much of the community crossdressers, TV’s and part-timers, I don’t see those people jumping into the public eye or onto a picket line any time soon. And that is understandable, some have families, careers and much to protect, so they’re afraid to join in the light.
The transgender community — with all its iterations — is a large, diverse, and silent group. But it makes you wonder how the community is ever going to educate anyone when there is no collective voice. And without one, how is society as a whole going to become familiar with us to understand we are sane, safe and contributors to society? Maybe Disney can do a G-rated movie, Taffy the TG Bunny?
As always, be happy, be safe, and think pretty.
(First published in Blaze New York gay newspaper 2001)