I am enjoying the book by c n Lester, Trans Like Me — conversations for all of us, NY: seal press, 2017. They write clearly about their experiences as a ftm trans. A particularly illuminating chapter concerns becoming a “real” person. This chapter reflects well many remarks made by both mtf and ftm trans persons. Getting beyond binary thinking with regard to gender poses difficulties for almost anyone who grew up in America. The physical limitations posed by biology and unhindered maturation are barriers to overcome in expression of a gender different from one’s biological status. But these barriers can be transcended and comfort can be found. Enjoy your voyage of exploration.
I am continuing to write on my observations of practicing cross dressing and reading the observations of cross dressers about such things as passing. Even small differences like errors in applying facial makeup or failure to observe commonly understood rules of etiquette on relations between women in public places can destroy across dressing males feeling of success.
It’s the little things
A common remark in postings by cross dressers and people who identify as trans gender is that somehow their body didn’t correspond with how they felt inside. The division between outer appearance and inner feelings. Is common in the work of Erving Goffman particularly when he writes about the “self”.
Since I am living alone it is easy to take some time to dress in clothes typically worn by women . Also I can put on a little makeup if I wish. Sometimes I grocery shop dressed this way and it provokes little comment.
Many cross dressers see halloween as a time to cross gender lines by dressing in gender linked clothing. Two different halloweens recently provided this opportunity for me. Alice from Through the Looking Glass and more recently a witch.
costume contest with a friend!
Just as race is being replaced by ethnicity as a meaningful category with emphasis on the culture of different groups of people who share a “consciousness of kind” ; gender is increasingly viewed as a cultural category rather than one that is specifically link to either biological sex or to sexual orientation. As such gender become a set of attitudes and performances which range from “masculine” to “feminine” with those terms taking on quite different meanings among different reference groups. Gender cultures vary among the biological males, females, hermaphrodites, as well as individuals who have undergone surgical and/or hormonal modification of their bodies. The recognition that gender culture need not be linked to biological sex in homo sapiens has been recognized by established status categories such as berdache (plains indians) and fa’afafine (Polynesians).
I am fascinated by the external representation of inner feelings and convictions. Gender among other things is an inner feeling sometimes becoming an overwhelming conviction. What do you feel?
Pippin has been a member of Tri-Ess since the 1980’s. An occasional cross dresser and retired educator, Pippin writes about the meaning of gender and the changing understanding of gender in American society.