First Time Ever Car Shopping as a Woman!

blue bmw sedan near green lawn grass
Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com 

 

Today was the first time I ever went car shopping as a woman!

Prior to transition I generally got read as an effeminate gay male. Since I honestly don’t know much about cars (zero interest, now or ever in the past), when car people realized that I had no idea what they were talking about a sort of not-quite-eye-rolling-at-the-faggot sort of crept in.

Walking in to car dealers today as a sort of genuinely bewildered older woman tightly gripping a copy of the Consumer Report issue on cars a friend loaned me, they quickly realized I was clueless, but were nice enough to treat me like their befuddled aunt who needed things carefully explained to her.

On balance, I think I prefer a little sexism and ageism to homophobia! At no point did I sense any thinly veiled hostility or wanting to hurt me, which I used to pick up on occasionally in testosterone-laden automotive environments.

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What the Monsters Think They Know

nosferatu shadow

On NPR today there was a piece about some studies that show that men who habitually sexually harass women tend to hold some common beliefs.

They believe their victims, however emphatically they reject the perpetrator’s advances,  want to have sex with the perpetrator.

They believe that victims of harassment who report it are lying.

They also tend to have no empathy for someone who feels that her back is against the wall and that she has no choice but to tolerate being groped or to accept performing degrading sexual favors in order to get or keep a job she needs to survive.

The suffering of their victims is all a big locker-room joke to the perpetrators.

Short version: the monsters believe that all woman are oversexed, lying bimbos without feelings or rights. In the view of the perpetrators, the victims deserve to be harassed, groped, even raped because of who they are.

If you are “out” as a trans woman on social media, I guarantee that you will receive unwanted advances, some of them incredibly crude and ugly and graphic, from guys who think that trans women are freaky sluts who exist only to serve as sex toys in their disgusting, ridiculously adolescent sexual fantasies. It is inconceivable to these “men” that we might be on a social media site to seek others with common, non-sexual interests with whom to interact in a friendly manner.

They become furious and verbally abusive when you ask them to please go away. (I default to polite, which I quickly learned is a mistake in dealing with these characters.)  It’s one reason I got off Facebook. But that isn’t where I am going here.

I would like to focus on one element of this: not being believed.

A key theme in anti-transgender propaganda being pushed by the bigots is that we are lying when we describe our experience of a long-term, at-the-core-of-our-beings, distressing-to-the-point-of-despair disconnection between the gender we are behind our eyes and what other see.

To hear them tell it, being transgender is a faddish notion we picked up last week from the “liberal media” as part of the sinister media’s plot to destroy America for no reason.

The first step in denying a person their humanity is to make them the butt of a joke.  See straight male “locker room humor” that degrades cisgender women. See how trans women are often the punch lines of  cruel “jokes” where the alleged “humor” is contained in the supposedly ridiculous idea that a straight man could find one of us attractive and enjoy our company. Yuk. Yuk.

Trust me, though, straight men being attracted to and even falling in love with trans women happens more often than you might think. Yes, Virginia, reality is terribly messy and complicated!

Sometimes those relationships even work out. Really.

Men who are attracted to femininity sometimes pick up that vibe coming from us and respond strongly to it. The external packaging is a major factor, but there is more to it than having breasts and long hair and wearing makeup.

It’s about the person inside.

That is why bigots work so hard to ridicule and dispute and dismiss what we transgender people tell you about what we experience in our inner lives. It’s the same toolkit of tactics that male sexual predators use when they do everything in their power to destroy belief in the competence, autonomy, and dignity of cisgender women.

One thing the monsters get right is their fear that once you accept the idea that all persons should have what they say about their preferences or private experiences–“I don’t want you to touch me!” or “I have always experienced myself in my inner life as a woman,” for example–respected, all their vile games go away.

Imagine that. Everyone entitled to dignity. What a crazy idea.

 

Why Are Your Protagonists Always Women?

1909 London young suff

I have a small confession: I also write fiction and have completed two novels, one of which is available on Amazon.

Years ago, someone who read my stuff asked me why all my protagonists were women.

The question caught me off guard, and I probably gave some sort of incoherent answer. The truth was that I was using my fiction writing as a way to inhabit women’s lives in fictional worlds in a way that, at the time, I was unable to inhabit a woman’s life in the real world.

It was a safety valve that bought me some time in my long struggle not to be transgender In the end, it wasn’t enough, not nearly enough.

Sublimation never is.

I just saw a piece about the first English translation of The Odyssey ever done by a woman. All translation is a creative act, as Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentinian poet and short-story author who was himself an important translator of fiction, pointed out. With different languages, since literal translation is rarely possible, the translator must make decisions about how to express what is being said. Inevitably, who the translator is will affect the final product.

Many of the older translations done by males had a decidedly sexist tone.

I want to read Emily Wilson’s version!

https://www.damemagazine.com/2017/12/13/why-the-odysseys-new-translation-matters-to-women/

 

 

Sorry, I Wasn’t Listening, I was, well . . .

I once read an account written by a trans woman physician who had transitioned in place while working on the staff in a large hospital  where she was surrounded by professional men who liked to think of themselves as liberal/progressive.

She said that, when she started to look and sound like a cisgender female, her cisgender male colleagues, who certainly knew who she was and didn’t seem to realize that they were doing this, started to treat her as if she had lost 30 IQ points.

They also tended to look at her chest more than her face in conversations and sometimes didn’t hear anything she was saying.

I suspect that most of them would deny being attracted to a trans woman, but it certainly appears otherwise. (Someone page a graduate student in social psychology looking for a thesis topic!)

Yes, guys, for women it is really like that, even in a “best case” situation such as the one she was in as a well-paid, high-status professional in a progressive setting where the employer and the HR department were on her side.

Women without such advantages–and that is most of us–fare much, much worse, as the #METOO movement is making painfully clear even to some men who previously didn’t see sexism and sexual harassment as real problems. Sexism, as the kids say, is a “thing.” Talk to me, gentlemen,  if you still don’t believe it.

By the way, it is insane to have interns who have had almost no sleep in days making life-and-death decisions. Women in these situations often have had even less sleep than the men, because female interns still are expected to do more than their share of the shopping, cooking, laundry, and cleaning in heterosexual relationships.

I’ve been in social situations such as potluck meals where straight guys who start flirting with me become markedly more interested when they discover that I can and do cook a variety of foods that include such male favorites as lasagna and baked pastries.

Are straight men mostly interested in women for the sex and food and don’t care what we think and might have to say? You tell me.