Originally posted on DD in response to some stupid college campus gender identity bullshit.
I had a transgendered friend in college, and she was the real deal — diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, went through the counseling, hormone therapy, and eventual reassignment.
She was cool as fuck, in her mid-forties, and over six feet tall. She recognized that some people were bound to be freaked out, yet instead of screaming her head off at some demonstration, she sought to demonstrate that Gender Identity Disorder doesn’t make you a freak.
My friend knew how to pick and choose her battles (“staring never hurt anybody”) and often went out of her way to try and make others feel more comfortable around her. Much of this involved encouraging people to ask questions — rather than leaving them to make assumptions — and if she felt a question was overly personal, she’d simply decline to answer.
She also had a killer sense of humor, and I never knew her to take anything personally. (She once said something like, “To be in my skin, it has to be a thick one.”)
For example, if we were at a restaurant and the server seemed intimidated by her, she’d say something like, “Don’t worry honey, I won’t bite. I never bite the hand that feeds me!”
Her sense of humor was usually enough to win people over. The times it wasn’t, she’d either ignore whomever was bothering her or say something reaaally funny at their expense. And it always stopped there, because she was big enough that you did NOT want to mess with her.
This was fifteen years ago, and it was actually from her that I first heard the term ‘genderqueer’.
She was frustrated because she belonged to some kind of trans support group that was becoming increasingly infested with people she described as “perverts” and “fetishists” (mostly gay men looking to hook up), along with self-proclaimed “trans allies” (all third-wave feminists) who wanted the GID diagnosis thrown out of the DSM and felt entitled to speak on behalf of those who had it.
(Gender Identity Disorder has since been replaced with “Gender Disphoria.)
My friend eventually left the group, and cautioned that in her experience, 90% of self-described “trans” people were simply role playing or seeking attention.
If you’re still with me, here is an excellent video explaining the difference between Gender Dysphoria and sheer human stupidity. It basically sums up every argument my friend made against gender constructionism fifteen years ago: