Date: Fri 06 Aug 1999 - 14:19:48 BST
Maybe, the differences between secondaries and primaries are not rooted in
when they transition, but rather in the reasons they do transition when they
do. Suzan has noted that most secondaries in her experience identify as
lesbian, and Robyn has noted that a transsexual who identifies as a
heterosexual woman is less likely to gather with queer transexuals, because
that would make her partner uncomfortable. I would assume that means fewer
het-identified transsexuals spend time in "the interlocking communities of
interest that people refer to as the 'gender community""
To be a male attracted to women and also to be woman-identified is to be
queer-queer. That can be read as a double negative, appearing as normative
"a het man" even if it is really double queer "a transsexual and a lesbian."
I had a lesbian search for questions from her peers for a radio interview,
and the only question was "Why, if you loved women, would you ever want to
have your penis cut off?" My mother called after reading a pice of Kate's in
the NYT Magazine and said "I don't get this -- she says she is a lesbian."
Assimilating into a lesbian community, where women are rejecting pressure to
be normatively gendered and have relations with men, isn't like assimilating
into a world of normative women and being attractive to normative men.
Lesbians were immersed in the rules of normative gendering as a woman and
chose to break those rules. Transsexual lesbians never were immersed in the
rules of womanhood, but many sure know how to break them to claim
Is this a heterosexist notion that at base women are defined in relationship
to men? If gender is based in reproductive sexual dimorphism, then the
relationship between the two genders is key. Gender is about relationship,
and about breeding relationships. The simplest definition of man & woman is
daddy & mommy. Men, too, are defined in terms of their relationship with
breeding, family, and women, who they are attracted to and want to be
For transsexuals for whom gender-shift (and resexing) will make them
normative, it may be easier than transsexuals for whom gender-shift will
remove their appearance of normativity and make them queer in desire and
queer in gender -- double queer. And when double queers transition, they
have different goals than het-identified transsexuals. Of course, these
transsexuals never were really normative -- on some level they were always
trans -- but is anyone really normative, or is normativity based in
appearances and performances?
We try to make sense of what we see, to take our observations of people's
stories and their choices, and find some patterns, have some structure of
understanding. Does that mean we erase truths in the process, or is it just
the human way of creating a mental structure?
In any case, the one thing I do know is that people here who could be defined
as secondary transsexuals say that they don't think they are any different
than any other transsexual, no matter what differences others may see. They
have been clear on that.
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