Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm Not A Weirdo!

...well, no more than usual, anyway.

Just looking at the coverage of the Steve Stanton story (I know, I sound like a broken record), it really bugs me the misconceptions people have about transfolk. The bigots of Largo - and I feel perfectly justified in calling them bigots after hearing their statements - have absolutely no idea what "transgender" even means. People, Stanton is not changing genders so she can wear a leather thong and sing "YMCA". She's not doing this so she can participate in public orgies. She's not doing this so she can wear a Tammy Fay Baker makeup job and parade her transsexuality around town. She's just doing this so she can - someday - live a "normal" life as a normal woman.

People judge transfolk by their most outrageous specimens, the ones who end up on TV. I would imagine that when the average person hears the word "transsexual", what they actually picture is a drag queen. And it makes sense that you don't know what an actual transperson looks like - the most successful transpeople are living ordinary lives in their new gender, and often their newer friends are none the wiser.

I recently read "She's Not There" by Jennifer Finney Boylan. It's a very entertaining autobiography of a transsexual, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand subject a little better. Anyway, there's a statistic in there I found interesting:
"Professor Lynn Conway at the University of Michigan estimates that there are forty thousand transgendered male-to-females in this country, and that counts only the ones who have already had the surgery. According to Professor Conway, that makes the condition more common than cleft palate and multiple sclerosis."
Note, the book was printed in 2003. I'm sure it's gone up since then.

Which means there's a fair chance that you know someone who wasn't born the sex they are now. That's right, they walk among us! And you might never know, and why would you? For that matter, why should it matter to you? They are who they are; there's no reason to judge them for it. Being a transsexual doesn't make them weirdos, freaks, or sexual deviants. It just means that at some point in their lives, their brains didn't match their bodies.

For those who missed it on my main page, here's The Daily Show's take on the Stanton case:

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