Transexual Manifesto

dragonfly, Vendredi, Novembre 14, 2003 - 16:25

Joëlle Circé

For non-transexual people it seems to have become easier, especially in the LG communities, to refer to us transexuals with that umbrella term. Truth be told, transgenders (tg's, cd's, tv's, etc. ) and transexuals are as different as lesbians and gay men are, and pretty much for the same reasons. Our basic core identities!

Understand that it really doesn't mean that we cannot, on specific occassions, stand together along with gays and lesbians, bisexuals and others. If we transexuals llow that our identity differences be forgotten, then we would also soon be forgotten.
When groups go on about trans-this and trans-that, what are they talking about exactly? Usually, it means people who transgress gender expectations set forth by society for their individual birth sex. It appears alright at first glance ... only it's also a bit like saying that apples and oranges are the same because they are both fruits, or that Gays and Lesbians are the same because they are attracted to the same sex. There's more to it than simply looking at the surface ... much more !

Transgender as an umbrella term is simply inaccurate when it is applied to transexuals. Gender is something that is fixed at birth, it's an internal sense of one's own sexual identity in regards to male and female. Guess what, transexuals don't "trans" or change genders, it is the same from birth. Transexuals do change their bodies so that they may match their gender. Transexuals "trans" the sexual characteristics that they were born with. If you do not feel compelled or driven towards accomplishing this, ( except for medical or moral issues ) you are not transexual. And if you're transexual, then you certainly cannot be transgendered!

It's pretty simple for gays, lesbians, crossdressers, transgendrists and bisexuals to avoid jumping through hoops of the medical professionals ... transexuals are dependant on the latter for treatment (hormones, surgery ). Gays, lesbians, bi's and even many transgendrists can pretty much be who they are and not always be "out" to some people. We transexuals, once on the path of transition, cannot! Crossdressers and transgenders can play gender roles every weekend and then return to their straight jobs come monday morning.

Transexuals are up against a lifetime danger of being " outed ". In our case, some of this discrimination is even legal since our allies in the LG communities seem to have forgotten us at ENDA. We are harassed without having much recourse. Transexuals crave the basic tools that others have and take for granted.

Transexuals ARE the ones who are in desperate need of proper ID. Transexuals are the ones in constant danger of being outed when their basic identities are put in question by authorities.

Each and every time we step out into society, if not totally transitioned, we run the risk of insults, inappropriate questions, and embarrashment. Even once transtioned.

In many ways, transexuality is about body; pre-natal hormonal washes, genetics, neurological, and maybe even a form of intersexuality.
One thing that is becoming more and more clear, is that transexuality is not " a behavior ", or a " fantasy ", or a " moral deviation ".
We transexuals have often been told what to think and do. We've been told to deny our transexuality by labelling ourselves as transgenders, been told to avoid other transexuals in order to be accepted and to pass, we've been told to blend into society and be forgotten.
If you, a transexual person, did not conform to the heterosexual ideal in your sexual orientation ... they could and often did deny surgery (SRS). The gatekeepers woudn't allow for you to even wear jeans to an identity clinic session if you were a transexual woman ... you had to wear either a skirt or a dress.

We transexuals have never truly had the opportunity to create a community. Today, when the idea of creating such a community is mentioned, there's enormous resistance and backlass by non-transexual transgendered people. They label people such as I "elitists", or "seperatists". A dear activist friend of mine and I have even been called " shit-disturbers " by one GL group, here in Canada.
The truth is that we transexuals need to have a community, one that is completly seperate from the transgender movement.
The transgender movement wishes to co-opt our very legitimate rights to medical, psychological and legal care. We transexuals need and are dependant upon the medical professionals. The non-transexual transgenders would want the same without paying the price. We transexuals are steadily losing what legal ground we've gained as the transgender movement becomes more visible.

Our needs for the most basic tools of daily living are frequently jettisoned at the drop of a hat by our " allies " as a bargaining chip. The transgendrists hate us when we bring up our differences and our different needs.

Sometimes gay men will tell a transexual woman that she is a gay man in denial, while radical lesbian seperatists label us " agents of patriarchy ". Our very history has been co-opted by the LG communities as well as the transgender movement. Some go so far as to try to erase the knowledge that a transexual man was a man by saying that he was a woman. This happened to Brandon Teena and others.
Transexual issues often boil down to life and death. Yet, our very identities are highjacked, denied and ridiculed, often the most by those claiming to be our allies.

Yes, coalitions are possible, but only if we transexuals are allowed to find our own voice and to claim our own identities.
We can work together with transgendrists, but not until the transgender movement learns to give us the simple respect of our lives.
Let my people go ... we are not you !
Transexual Amazon
Joëlle Circé
(inspired from an essay by: Cathryn Platine)

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