Daring to Speak Against the Current

Several readers have sent me links to an article and a video that should be shared:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/sunday/what-makes-a-woman.html

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Daring to Speak Against the Current

  1. Thanks for posting this, Christine. I just started a blog for “trans widows” so I’ve added this video to the post queue. I’ve also quoted your article from the Guardian in a couple of posts.

    • Hi trans widow – can you link us to the blog? – there is an urgent need for a informative and supportive place for other trans widows and victims of Agp abuse to speak and be heard and a gentle place to which newcomers might be referred … somewhere we can discuss our lived experiences as ‘trans bereaved’ openly, ask questions and contribute to safely without fear or anxiety, especially those who are still living in fear of abuse.. we all know from comments on other blogs that there are many of us out here desperate for someone to hear OUR side of the story without fear of ostracism and vilification – an information resource specifically aimed at ‘trans widows’…? ..

    • Please send me the link to the blog. Thanks!

  2. Paradroid

    As one half of a trans couple, I will very frankly admit that in transitioning neither of us are doing anything remotely heroic. We are doing it for ourselves, and the trademark of heroism is self-sacrifice (at least of a meaningful sort ). We do not accept that “not heroic” equates to “morally reprehensible”, and we are of course grateful when people are positive rather than judgemental about our decision, but we will not be offended nor surprised if we do not get offered the OBE for our “incredible bravery”…

    The part this video really loses me, though, is the incredibly harsh declaration that someone who has lived as they are for sixty-five years should be prepared to die as they are. There may well be reasons why a person, for years or even decades, feels unable to come out as trans, gay, or of a certain faith (or none) according to how hostile they judge their reception will be. A recent Radio 4 programme interviewed a late-transitioning Scottish transwoman, who felt unable to come out until later in life for the very understandable reason that if she had come out when young, if would have merely led her into a mental asylum. I daresay many older gay people who finally came out after decriminalisation in 1967 did so to the disgust of people who had formerly admired them, but nowadays we would judge those people to be bigots (quite properly).

    • Thank you for entering this conversation with frankness and sanity. In the current climate those qualities really do require a measure of bravery. I wish you the best.

      • Paradroid

        Thank you. I would certainly admit our case is atypical – two transpeople in a formerly cisnormative relationship deciding to transition together is not unprecedented but scarcely everyday – and I do have knowledge in my personal circle of someone who transitioned within a normal married relationship, causing great pain in the process. I would not definitely not argue that the transitioning person there is blameless, though I would suggest that our society is such a complex web of shame and misguided beliefs that there is always blame to share.

        Trans people, as gay people once typically were and still occasionally are, get frequently seduced by or shoehorned into that tired old narrative that their “erroneous desires” will evaporate if they can only get into a normal relationship / get married / have a “good ****”, etc. It is definitely irresponsible of them to believe such a feeble platitude, but it is also irresponsible of the non medically-qualified people who are spreading it (includings parents, priests, “therapists” who really shouldn’t be allowed to use that title, etc).

        I was also recently stricken by Linda Thompson’s recent article on her marriage with Jenner, which takes a much more empathetic tone of the situation than this video, and at any rate clears up any suspicion that Jenner transitioned on a mere whim (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-thompson/bruce-jenner-linda-thompson_b_7080918.html).

    • …. you seem to be mistaking autogynephilia for some sort of excuse.. i dont know where you get off telling women what a woman should be, but its a lie to suggest these peoples gender expression has been rigidly suppressed by society and not their own internalised sense of shame. if you’d ever been married to an Autogynephile you’d know why.i’ve heard every excuse and justification in the book and i can shoot them all down in an instant with a few links to the relevant forums. Do not mistake the Agp game with a characteristically open and honest, mutually consensual adult relationship. it’s really not the same thing at all.
      Middle aged men who have never displayed a single ‘feminine trait’ in their entire lives apart from secret cross dressing and paraphilic onanism, who have a history of using unwitting women non consensually as beards in long term marriages, creating children and ostensibly declaring themselves to be heterosexual men while leading highly unsavory double lives their famiies know nothing about. they have no regard whatsoever for the identity, sexuality and orientation of the women they marry or any other female they use as narcissistic masturbatory supply. they have no respect for women, or for womens issues. the last thing they want is legal protections for women and girls because how else can they force the rest of the world to validate them? fyi – a woman who has been married to a man and raised his children without the slightest suspicion of what he was up to.. you cannot go around telling her that her husband is a woman.. she knows for a fact that this is a barefaced lie and Gaslighting is abuse -a cult tactic. trans is beginning to look awfully like the definition of a cult to me.
      from my own experience, i dont believe its a coincidence that the decision of autogynephiles to suddenly declare they are ‘women’ and demand everyone agree so often coincides with the puberty of female family members or some family crisis that they feel has taken their rightful place as the centre of female attention.. i would cite you a number of examples you could easily verify, but i dont have the permission of the families involved. remember, these men have never shown any indication of gender non conformity during childhood, adolescence or decades of adulthood apart from secret cross-dressing. no one forced them to marry, have children, lie, cheat, betray, or abuse.

  3. dorettawildes

    Thank you, Christine. Just found you – and I am astonished to find that I am not alone. Your courage and your summation of the theft and deceit are validating indeed. I, like you, made the discovery years after committing to a relationship with what I thought was a normal man. But, unlike you, I was not brave enough to discuss it in a first-person account. I have posted a link to your Guardian article on my page in the hope it might help others. Weeks before, I posted the thoughts below on my FB page. I hope to do better in time. Thank you so very much, brave woman. -Doretta Wildes

    I admit, I’m puzzled by the recent media focus on trans-gendered men, with Bruce Jenner hurling himself into the fray with the same urgency and passion as he once hurled a discus or javelin. Is it really just about people liberating themselves from the shackles of fashion and hard-wired sexual identity? Or is it really about men out-womaning women in a such a way that women should be as outraged as Black people were when that pitiful, fake Black person, Rachel Dolezal, was outed as a White?

    Throughout my life, I’ve watched the transition express itself in tragicomic ways. It was funny when the Monty Python men dressed up in heels and dresses or simply pitched their voices an octave higher to imitate middle-aged nags, which, back then, was the way all middle-aged women with opinions were perceived. Remember the “Lumberjack song” about a he-man who dresses as a woman and goes to bars on the make? It made weird (to most of us) seem funny (to some of us, at least).

    From there to here, gay people followed the rainbow to their pot of gold, which is social acceptance, the right to marry, the right to be themselves. And transgenderism, it seems, was riding on gay backs all along, helped into its pencil skirts by the media. Cross dressing became a form of entertainment by the late 1970s, and by the gay 90s, just another part of the scene. It seemed right to think that men could be sopranos, pole dancers, chanteuses and drop-dead gorgeous – more so, more ostentatiously so, in fact, than most women.

    Along the way, we saw Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie” dress as a woman to land a woman’s job in a soap opera, and deliver a diatribe against sexism that no woman would have gotten away with then or now. But we also saw Michael Caine in “Dressed to Kill,” about a murderous cross dresser, shocking at the time, and no longer part of the cultural zeitgeist, because now we all know that cross dressers aren’t murderers – they are our brothers, friends, cousins and – increasingly – our erstwhile boyfriends and husbands.

    Sorry folks, but this just all seems like deja-vu to this observer: Men out to prove that they can out-dress, out-beauty, out-cook, out-decorate as well as out-wit, out-smart, out-earn, out-spend and out-talk women. Men have always done this. Men took women’s roles in the original stagings of Shakespeare’s plays. Men cut off the gonads of boys to produce eunuchs and some of the most beautiful soprano voices ever heard on this planet (the so-called castrati) according to some. I’m sure a better historian than this writer could cite hundreds more examples. It’s tiresome when you think about it.

    But we are letting them do it, with the media’s help. Women, long the baby bearers, the elderly parent caregivers, the long-suffering, patient enablers of men, the low wage earners of the increasingly complex gender spectrum – are just sitting back, watching the circus and cheering on Bruce as if he were one of us. Think of it, really. Besides boobs, a vagina, makeup, hair and a closet full of drapery and heels, what part of womanhood do Bruce and men like him really want to take on?

    Men have already taken everything tangible and intangible that women have valued over the ages. Now they are taking that one last intangible – our gender, our identity. And most women, it seems, are perfectly happy to cheer them on.

    But in back of it, I just bet, are women doing the usual women’s work. Consoling the confused offspring of the gender-traders. Asking themselves why they didn’t see it coming sooner. And, as always, blaming themselves for not being enough of a woman to keep her man in his man’s body. And doing it in endangered privacy — alone.

    • Thank you for your thoughts and words, and for reading about my journey as you make your own. I resonate with your sense of being alone, and I hope connecting with the stories of the handful of us who understand your experiences from the inside out will lessen the isolation, and – above all – hasten the healing. All best wishes for good things ahead!

  4. Atranswidow

    I can’t get enough of this woman….she speaks for so many of us! So glad to see her here too.

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