I was going to write about the playtime Master and I had with Lupa the other night, but something else just happened that I want to get off my chest, so the happy-fun-sexy time will have to wait for later.
Today at lunch I was talking with my former roommate and some other friends, and somehow (I'm not even sure how this came up), my roommate started talking about a video she saw during HRC leadership training about a summer camp for transkids. "And there was this one scene that showed all the kids down at the beach, right, and there was this boy wearing a one-piece swimsuit, and it was the weirdest thing I had ever seen! I mean, you're at the beach! It shouldn't matter, right?"
I grimaced at her calling a (apparent) transgirl a "boy." You'd think they'd have covered that in the training session. "But that doesn't matter," I said, referring to the fact that it was technically socially acceptable for the transgirl to have her chest exposed. "All her life she's been picking up the societal cues that are sent to girls, and so she feels the need to cover her chest."
"And that's another thing," my roommate said. "They say the're breaking down the gender binary... by reinforcing the opposite side? How does that work? I mean, I don't define myself by my breasts."
Oh dear. I've heard that one before.
I should have spoken up at that point, saying that being transgendered is about so much more than that - so much more than gender stereotypes. I should have said that it's about the body you see in the mirror in the morning never matching what you expect in your mind. I should have said it's about hesitating whenever you're asked to check/circle one, M or F, because you know what people are expecting you to choose is not the one you know is right, and have known is right since the day you were born. I should have said that the reason some transgendered people dress/act in ways typical (some might even say stereotypical) to their gender identity is because otherwise people would keep gendering them incorrectly.
I should have said all that. But I didn't because I knew what she would say.
How would I know? I can't speak with any authority about being transgendered - because I'm not.
No, I'm not, I would reply. I'm definitely cissexual. But I've heard and read the words of several transgendered people, and that's where I've gleaned my understanding, however flawed it may be because of my cissexual paradigm. Perhaps my roommate would to well to actually listen to what transgendered people have to say as well.
I should have said all that, but I didn't. I was too afraid that I'd get shouted down or laughed away, so I clammed up and slumped down in my chair as she went on to criticize a transgendered friend of ours who apparently wasn't passing enough and therefore wasn't "really" transgendered. Eventually I was so uncomfortable with the tone of the conversation that I had to leave.
I was a poor ally today. I need to improve if I'm going to be of any help at all.