Thursday, August 02, 2007


There are currently streams and streams of posts ranting against Julie Bindel's views on transfolk currently raging across the blogosphere (ye GODS I cannot believe I just used that term).

To name just the three ones I read (admittedly, fairly popular mainstream ones - there may be others).

It's quite exciting.

It brought up a vaguely related issue that rankles me - both through the issue itself and the associated guilt some people bombard me with because of it. But I'm going to put it out there: I am made slightly uncomfortable by dragging up. Not because I don't think that you can wear whatever the bejesus you want to wear, or that you must dress a certain way depending on which genitalia you were born with. I don't give a monkey's about that.

I think what bothers me is one set of articulations behind it - not that, obviously, people always have a rational, logical, or even just plain old "good" reason for it. What discomfits me is the idea that putting on a skirt and a touch of rouge makes you feel "feminine, and so more sensitive, compassionate, more in touch with your feelings." Margaret Thatcher was never, as far as I can recall, photographed in trousers. Does that mean she was a compassionate or sensitive person? Fat bloody chance - she was a self-serving, mean-hearted woman who stole my milk (or, apparently, not personally, just on the government's behalf). I wear skirts all the time, and you know why? Because I hate how my legs look in trews. Plus make-up - does that make me feel "feminine?" I don't know. I just am a woman - it's all in me (chaka khan).

And that is the tragedy for transgender people that Bindel fails to pick up on - I am comfortable in my skin as a woman. I feel like a woman; I don't feel displaced, and that doesn't mean that my experience is like every other's, but there is something right about it. I really do feel for those people who do not have that comfort in their body, who feel like it's a casing that inhibits them. I don't really understand what it means to not feel like your body is your own, that you are the wrong gender - but that's because I cannot. Because I'm comfortable with what I am (and am not). Compassion would go a long way here.

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