Jasper on Alabama Street : Tranny Politics Part

Posted: January 6, 2009 in Uncategorized

This is what I consider boy even though everything but the shoes is from the womens side of the aisle. I call it boy. A. thinks its girly. What is your take?
—————–
When I first came out as transgender in San Francisco I kept asking ‘where are the Male-To-Female (MTF) trannies?’ I had seen the MTF streetwalkers in the tenderloin and I had visited their bar Divas but I was having a hell of a time finding a trans girl rolemodel who was not substance-addicted, homeless, or a streetwalker. The first few trans girls that I encountered in hipster hang outs, were rather defensive or unfriendly and seemed unhappy and sometimes upset about being approached.
I started to see FTMs and bio-girl genderqueers all over the place. They seem well organized and out of the closet. Dyke culture in SF seems to embrace and celebrate them. They are a very visible presence in Queer San Francisco. I have gotten to know FTM’s all over town who have public facing jobs, while MTFs seem to have trouble finding any job outside of the sex trade. I have met two in retail type jobs and they both seemed very averse to interacting with me.
The first ‘out’ MTF I met was a local performance artist. We were at a big genderqueer event surrounded by an eclectic crowd of FTM’s, and a few gay men. My question: "where are all the MTF’s?" She gave me a a very interesting answer. She said that FTM’s in San Francisco retain contacts with the queer community after they transition. MTF’s after their transitions often do not want to be reminded about being trans. They just want to be erase their male past. This explanation makes sense, but I find it problematic for a number of reasons:
1) It denies our real difference. We are not second class women, but that is the best we can hope for if we do not take pride in our difference.
2) It strengthens the self-hatred, shame and trans-phobia that has been instilled into us by an extremely hostile society.
3) It leads to a sick situation where MTF’s do not want to be associated with one another and show a profound lack of solidarity with one another.
4) It leads to a lack of MTF social spaces and support networks even in San Francisco, except for those that are organized around sex work and social work for the MTF underclass.
5) It leads to the political marginalization of MTF’s, because we cannot organize if we do not even associate with one another.

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Comments
  1. Kate Sloan says:

    That definitely looks like Boy to me, but done in a way that acknowledges your femmeness. Very tasteful & lovely. You look great, as always!

  2. Rikki says:

    Your experience with (the lack of) MtF transgender community in SF confirms my similar experience in LA. Everyone is obsessed with “passing”, which they defined as basically fooling everyone into thinking that they were genetic women, not transgendered. All of which ADDED to the shame felt at being transgendered. But wait–why should ANYONE feel shame at being themselves? To put it another way, why should anyone have to transition from being themselves into being something they are not?

    Those of us who were proud of being ourselves were regarded as freaks and ostracized by most people.

    I have since moved out to the extreme burbs and found far more acceptance among the straight community, most of whom know my background and don’t care. What matters here is how nice you are to other people. I’m not a celebrity anymore. Hallelujah!

  3. Jasper Gregory says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience Rikki. Please feel free to share more when the fancy strikes you. I have also been surprised at how accepting straight community can be. I think it is also a matter of politics. Progressives are much more accepting than the traditional values folks.

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