Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Not when you’re wrong

I’m such a noob at being part of a minorty. One of the things that I have learned is that when you kick ass and take names, other members of your minority will chafe against the expectation that they should be as successful. And then there’s the fact that people who aren’t part of the minority will think you’re all the same. And then there are the coat-tail riders. I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting right now, but probably the most annoying to me is when a member of the minority misbehaves and then expects unanimous support from the other members of the minority simply due to “shared experience.” (sort of)

[I’m possibly mixing a lot of things in here. I’m being a little flippant about being a member of a minority, since the group I’m talking about is “transgender,” and if I ever was a member of that group (which I doubt more and more everyday) I’m certainly not now. However, women with a history of surgically treated transsexualism are pretty small in number, so I guess I could count that – though I sort of resist referring to my medical condition as grounds for considering myself as part of a minority. The thing I’m really talking about is how we’re all, as sensitive and caring people whether or not we’re trans, supposed to get on board with anyone who is transgender even when they act a damn fool. Well, um, see the thing is, not so much.]

Transgender mayor’s clothes spur complaint
(story with video here)

See, this bothers me because it so plays into what was my worst fear before my transition. I teach drum lessons to (mostly) kids between 8 and 15 years old. I was really scared that people would have baseless fears about letting me continue as their kid’s drum teacher (the owner of the store ~specifically~ asked if I was going to come to work in mini-skirts – seriously). Fortunately, my students and their parents believed in me and my drumming and teaching ability, and my sense to not make a spectacle out of myself. Most people won’t even notice that this mayor self-identifies as a crossdresser and not transsexual, they’ll just lump us all together and question ~my~ competance under guilt-by-association. (And just for the record, that halter top looks like incredibly hot material – the “heat” excuse just doesn’t wash with me.)

M2F Transgender kept in male prison

Here’s where I become an essentialist hag (and yes, I’m well aware of the hole I’m creating for other people to attack me, so be it). You see, what are we supposed to do with a person in this situation? I’m not feeling super-groovy about funding a sex-change procedure (if that’s even desired) on tax-payer money (I paid for mine out-of-pocket, afterall, and if we’re not going to cover law-abiding citizens we really shouldn’t be covering people in jail). I chafed against the fact that I couldn’t change my birth certificate until I had surgery, and yet I understood why. This person, legally female, still has a penis, and wants to be put in women’s prison. Um, I really don’t think that makes sense. Likewise, I do understand that men’s prison is not a great alternative. I have a big enough heart that I can see that the reality for this prisoner is mostly protective-custody for the bulk of their prison stay. But I can also see that perhaps not committing the crime in the first place might have been prudent.

I know that I’m supposed to be all onboard the tranny-train, but I have my own impressions, and reservations. I admit to not being 100% comfortable with crossdressers using the ladies room (which isn’t the same as saying I think they ~shouldn’t~ use the ladies room, because I think they should, but I’m admitting to feeling a little iffy about it). I admit to thinking that there’s a difference between transgender folks and transsexuals; I don’t understand transgenderists, genderqueers, or the pregnant man (which isn’t to say that I think negatively of them, just that they’re different from me and that I don’t understand them).

I guess I’m combining a few similar but different thoughts in this post. First, I am uncomfortable with the concept of the “transgender umbrella;” I really do see transsexualism in a different way to the gender-deconstruction that seems so essential to transgender people. Next, if I see someone behaving badly I will acknowledge their bad behavior, especially if they’re associated with me (whether incorrectly or no) by others. Finally, while I often consider blurring my way into the woodwork, I do think it remains important for me to be at least reservedly open about my history. (I have noticed, though, that every time I think about it, the qualifiers get stronger – first it was “out,” then it was “partially” open, now it’s “reservedly” open. Hmm, I bet that means something.)

But, yeah, just because you’re trans I won’t stick up for you if you’re a bonehead (that’s one of my most fundamental rules of life: “Don’t be a bonehead”).


  Corrvin wrote @

Unfortunately, if you aren’t safe in the side of jail that you are legally entitled to be on, that still doesn’t mean you’re entitled to be put in whatever kind of jail you prefer. Unless we’re going to revamp the whole prison system and start mixing the sexes in some ways, solitary has to be the only answer.

I would actually REALLY like to see the laws changed so that there is parity across the states as to when someone can change their legal sex. Oklahoma’s law prevents issues like the pregnant man– to change your birth certificate to male, you have to be missing ovaries and a uterus. On the other hand, it doesn’t prevent penises in girl jail, because to get your birth cert amended to female you only have to be missing your testes.

And what’s crazy is that you have to amend your birth cert according to the laws of the state you were born in, even if you live somewhere else and have lived there for years. I mean, ok, maybe if you’re trans you’re used to being screwed by being born in the wrong state– but I still don’t think it’s right!

I’m amused by your feelings on being open. I don’t think you’re changing your mind so much as just refining how you feel about it all. I wouldn’t worry about seesawing or anything like that, it’ll work out in a year or three.

  Véronique wrote @

Penny, believe it or not, I can’t really find anything to disagree with here. And I understand why some people who were born with brain out of sync with body want to disassociate themselves from certain other members of the so-called community. As you say, a bonehead is a bonehead, trans or not.

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