Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for March 27, 2010

Mob Mentality

So, there’s this film called Ticked Off Trannies with Knives. It’s scheduled to be shown at the Tribecca Film Festival. And naturally, that’s causing the inevitable freak-out.

I’m told that I’m supposed to be insulted because they use the word “tranny.” Sorry, I’ve given that up. Too many people in the community use the word for me to see it as insulting anymore. It’s just a word. If I can use it, so can anyone else. Context is important, sure, but it’s a cheesy movie. Do we really need to stage a full mobilization to crush a cheesy movie?

I’m urged to be horrified that the “trannies” in the movie act like drag queens and therefore aren’t representative of real transgender women. Well, wait a minute. Isn’t the party line that drag queens fall under the “Transgender Umbrella” that’s always being promoted to insist that we’re all one big happy family? Is it really a good thing to argue that portrayals of drag are horribly offensive?

I’m told that even though the women in the movie (several of whom happen to have some sort of trans in their histories) are comfortable with the movie that they shouldn’t have a say. I’m told that the community should over-ride the women who are in the movie.

Oh, and no one has seen the movie yet, either.

I dunno, I just can’t get all worked up about this. Is it a great thing? No, probably not. But I think it’s disingenuous to claim that the word tranny is so offensive when so many people with trans histories use it. We use it as titles of podcasts and radio shows and the like – but no one else is allowed to use it, I guess. I find it terribly hypocritical to claim that presenting drag as transgender is inaccurate, since the community argues so strongly for inclusion of drag under the “Transgender Umbrella.”

It’s a movie.

And, it might be painful, but in watching how society has gradually come to understand minorities, cheesy (and, fine, offensive) art is often part of the process. I guess I almost see this as moving things forward. It’s twisted, but it’s the way stuff like this seems to go.

And I’m also just saddened by how much energy I’ve seen directed toward this. There’s ENDA still sitting stuck in Washington, and it’s possibly been amended with anti-trans language, but no one’s even sure, and that doesn’t generate this much energy.

Hiding in Plain Sight

I saw a woman earlier today whom I strongly suspected had some sort of trans in her history. She was in front of me in line at the supermarket. I don’t think it’s ever possible to be 100% certain that someone is trans just by looking, watching, and listening, but I really think I’m right in my assessment.

And we passed by each other just like any two other people who don’t know each other.

And I wondered if she recognized that I have a trans history.

And I wondered if I was, in fact, correct (I’m really pretty sure that I was).

And I just thought that was interesting. There’s something inherent about my life that I just float through the world as fairly ordinary woman. And judging by this other woman’s air and demeanor, so does she. I’ve chosen to work actively toward making things better for people who have some sort of trans in their makeup, and that has caused me to be fairly open about my story. But I still just live a generally quiet life.

And in some ways it strikes me that I wish that woman and I could say hello to each other and exchange pleasantries. And in some ways it strikes me that we may very well have nothing in common besides an interesting history. I have drumming in common with lots of people, and I get along with some of them and don’t with some of them. It’s sort of a weird thing to think that I would have anything in common with another woman who happens to have a trans history beyond that shared physical trait. And yet, there does seem to be lots of similarity in the ways that people navigate through the world that gives us at least a connection of shared experience.

It’s weird. I thought I might have more to say about it, but I guess I don’t.

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