December 27, 2015

"When I can present myself as a woman (or a girl), I often feel better than my usual self, more present in my body..."

"... I am not model-pretty, and sometimes not even comfortable (tights can be scratchy; so can newly shaved chest hair), but I am more at home in the physical world, as well as excited by the relative novelty of what I get to wear, from silver flats to ruffly Swiss dot tops. I’d dress like that all the time if I felt I could do it well without half an hour of prep work when it’s time to get out the door with our kids in the morning, without distracting my students, and without disorienting the people around me who have got used to Stephen or Steve. That is to say that while I enjoy being Stephanie—I’d hate to give it up—I am not unhappy enough about my male body, my life as a guy, to spend the energy, money, and time required to live as a woman from day to day (in the parlance, 'go full-time'), as other varieties of trans people do. Stephanie is not somebody else I created but a better, an aspirational, version of me—I don’t even stop my friends from calling me Stephen, though I’d rather be called, when in drag, by my feminine name. I am at once, 'on the inside,' Stephen and Stephanie, and I write poems and personal essays about how it feels to be the internally divided, multiple, transgender me."

From "Mansplaining Cross-Dressing," a New Yorker essay (published in January 2014), by Stephen Burt, whom I was just looking up because he's got a book review in the NYT today. That old New Yorker essay called to mind a new piece in The New Yorker, which is mostly about Jill Soloway, the writer/director of the TV show "Transparent," but has this really interesting bit about Eileen Myles, who's described (awkwardly) as "a protégé of Allen Ginsberg’s who wrote the cult classic 'Chelsea Girls.'" (That means Myles wrote "Chelsea Girls.") I liked this:
“I grew up thinking I was a boy and praying to God I’d become male,” Myles told me. “Jill says, ‘Why don’t you identify as trans?’ It’s like, I don’t want to make it your business to call me ‘he.’ I’m happy complicating what being a woman, a dyke, is. I’m the gender of Eileen.”... I asked Myles if, as a poet, she struggled to refer to an individual person as “they.” She said, “It’s not intuitive at all. But I’m obsessed with that part in the Bible when Jesus is given the opportunity to cure a person possessed by demons, and Jesus says, ‘What is your name?’ And the person replies, ‘My name is legion.’ Whatever is not normative is many.” She liked the idea of a person containing more than one self, more than one gender. “Part of it is just the fiction of being alive,” she said. “Every step, you’re making up who you are.”

42 comments:

gadfly said...

Cross-dressing explained as: "When it is all about me." In the old days we made fun of such people and we could shut CD down even at costume parties and Halloween. Now everything is PC and cross-dressing is an accepted practice in the extensive social networks of the New Age.

"To each his own," said the old lady, when she kissed her cow.

n.n said...

transgender/crossover

While there may be legitimate cause to tolerate transgender/homosexual, transgender/crossover, and other transgender orientations, there is compelling precedent to avoid applying the "secular" pro-choice doctrine to discriminate between them, and there is a historical basis to mitigate collateral damage in the course of creating a perception of normalcy.

sean said...

These people are very strange. There should be some form of counseling that would help them, rather than enable them, but there isn't, because politics trumps science every day.

The Godfather said...

We are spending far too much attention on a tiny fraction of the population. They DON'T MATTER (except in the sense that all lives matter).

FullMoon said...

Defining deviancy down, and down, and down.
Not that I care, somwe of my best friends are deviants !

BobM said...

I'm not sure why so many people get so bent out of shape by transexuals (no pun intended). If folks want to cross dress, how does that hurt anybody else?

Whenever I hear someone try to justify discriminating against trannies, their arguments always seem to boil down to "Well, I don't like it, that's why it shouldn't be allowed." People need to get over themselves, attend to their own business, and stop obsessing over the behavior of others that, frankly, can't possibly affect them one whit.

whitney said...

Obsessed with being possessed by many demons. The world is wonky

Michael K said...

"If folks want to cross dress, how does that hurt anybody else?"

Pretty naive. The aggressive transexuals are attacking anyone who doesn't support them. Not tolerate; support.

Try using the wrong gender pronoun in New York, for example.

The new “guidance” (“NYC Pronoun Ban”), which has power to levy hefty fines against “violators” who “discriminate,” is an extension of the New York City Human Rights Law, based on the city’s laws against gender discrimination.

Failing to use an individual’s preferred name or pronoun, under the new ban, will be considered a violation of New York City Human Rights Law, punishable by fines up to $250,000.

“Refusal to use a transgender employee’s preferred name, pronoun, or title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) may constitute unlawful gender-based harassment,” the new NYC Pronoun Ban reads.

“Gender is defined as one’s ‘actual or perceived sex and shall also include a person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression,’“ the new ban reads, “‘whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth.’“

FullMoon said...

BobM said...

I'm not sure why so many people get so bent out of shape by transexuals (no pun intended). If folks want to cross dress, how does that hurt anybody else?

Whenever I hear someone try to justify discriminating against trannies, their arguments always seem to boil down to "Well, I don't like it, that's why it shouldn't be allowed." People need to get over themselves, attend to their own business, and stop obsessing over the behavior of others that, frankly, can't possibly affect them one whit.

Nope. The argument is, I don't give a damn, but I am sick of hearing about it every damn day for several yeara

YoungHegelian said...

@BobM,

People need to get over themselves, attend to their own business, and stop obsessing over the behavior of others that, frankly, can't possibly affect them one whit.

When you say "can't possibly affect them one whit", you obviously mean stuff like this. You know why I'm linking to a off-the-beaten-track right wing site like the Daily Signal? Because I couldn't find another site that actually bothered to interview the affected teenage girls! Everybody else talked about the legal issues, the DoE or DoJ issues, or the TS's mom, or the ACLU. No one else interviewed the affected girls!

I'm sorry, but what planet do you live on that the SJW's have taken up a Live and Let Live policy when it comes to issues of gender & sexuality?

Joe said...

The problem, BobM, is that many transexuals aren't content with cross dressing or whatever on their own, they and their PC enablers insist on pushing it in our faces and then freak out when we observe that such people are insane.

In short, "People need to get over themselves, attend to their own business, and stop obsessing over the behavior of others that, frankly, can't possibly affect them one whit." needs to be applied to the freaks as well.

SukieTawdry said...

A penchant for cross-dressing does not automatically make one fascinating, nor even particularly interesting. Case in point: Stephen (sometimes Stephanie) Burt.

Qwinn said...

Cross dressers are obviously being attention whores, but somehow it's our fault if their behavior gets the attention (positive or otherwise) that they so obviously crave.

buwaya puti said...

The subjects of mad people's fantasies are affected by fashions. Today it seems to be fashionable for disturbed people to imagine themselves as the opposite sex. Long ago it was the fashion, for those with a similar flavor of madness, to imagine themselves to be the Emperor Napoleon, or some close facsimile.

sean said...

"People need to get over themselves, attend to their own business, and stop obsessing over the behavior of others"

Wait, does that mean college student can wear whatever Halloween costumes they want? You racist bigot! You would be fired from any Ivy League university--probably from Wisconsin, too, for that matter--for that hateful point of view.

SGT Ted said...

Look, it's ok to be a weirdo, or a bit crazy, as long as you're not harming yourself or others.

Just don't pretend you're not a weirdo or a bit crazy. Embrace it, instead of demanding that everyone around you treat you as normal. Because you're not.

Michael said...

We are going to all die of boredom. I can feel it even as my jaw stiffens from the constant yawns.

Birkel said...

Michael K,

In a sane world the First Amendment would be found to prohibit enforcement of that NYC law. Do we live in such a world?

William said...

I feel that all this attention to transsexuals draws attention away from the true victims in our society. I'm referring, of course, to anorexic and bulimic women. Every year thousands of women die from this disorder. How can you not look at their haunted, frightened eyes staring back at you from the runway and not feel a pang of pity. Attention must be paid. There are many transsexuals who suffer from anorexia, and they perhaps deserve an extra dollop of pity. But keep your eye on the ball. Anorexic women is the major social problem of our era.

Titus said...

It is great when Althouse points u splooge stooges to New Yorker and New York Times articles.

Your response is so predictable.

U are a bunch of stupid old flyover fucks. And the world pased u by.

And u can't get a hadron-sad.

tits.

Michael K said...

I have four grand daughters. I would prefer that the trannies not invade their space.

We are approaching the point where normal people are thinking that it would be worth it to have Muslims around so they could punish the idiots. Dangerous thinking.

Titus said...

And most of you old fuckers are takers.

Those of us working are supporting your fucking retired fucks.

virgil xenophon said...

Sick puppies who represent FAR less than the already miniscule 1.6% of the population who identify as standard homosexuals or lesbians. And we the majority are supposed to contort/restructure our entire way of life--legal, cultural, etc., --to conform to their dysfunctional lifestyles under pain of legal sanction?

virgil xenophon said...

@AA/

Getting sick of the "moderation" bit. It virtually makes impossible any kind of meaning-full real-time dialogue. Hnt: Notice the fall-off in page views?

coupe said...

Actually, the man calling himself legion was infested. It wasn't a good thing. When pigs fly into the sea, instead of the coals, it's a bad day on Earth.

Mr Wibble said...

People need to get over themselves, attend to their own business, and stop obsessing over the behavior of others that, frankly, can't possibly affect them one whit.

Transgenderism does affect other people.

First, by denying biological reality and demanding that other do so as well, and demanding that this delusion be accepted public policy. Men and women are physically different. This has implications for a vast array of professions and policies. Transgenderism denies this categorically. It has to. If you agree that men and women are unique, then one cannot become the other, no matter how they mutilate their body. On the other hand, if 'man' and 'woman' are simply ephemeral labels and have not bearing on physical reality, then any attempt to distinguish between men and women, say in prison housing, or firefighter physical requirements, or health care is at best foolish and at worst illegal.

Second, by rendering language suspect. A man who decides that he is in reality a woman is now no longer a father but a "mother"? We run into the same problem that gay marriage brought us: if a child can have two fathers, or two mothers... why not three? Or eight? By stripping words of any concrete meaning, we strip them of power, and give that power to someone else, usually the State.

Third, the process of normalizing transgenderism means accepting as normal a lot of behaviors that are self-destructive and dangerous, and pretending that they aren't. Transgenderism is at its most basic the desire to destroy one's body in order to become their ideal. By why is the destruction of a penis or breasts unique? There are people who believe that they should be allowed to sever limbs, blind themselves, render themselves deaf, all in the name of making themselves "whole". We rightly call them mentally ill, but are too scared to do the same to transsexuals. That won't last, because it cannot.

Fourth, normalizing transgenderism leads to this crap being pushed on kids at younger and younger ages (note the spate of articles in the past year about kids under 15 who are "transitioning") That is harmful to children, since their identities haven't fully developed. An eight-year old boy can't decide that they are actually a girl, because eight-year old boys are still at the stage in life where being a superhero seems like a valid option. What we have are parents pushing this crap for their own personal gain, and part of society is so obsessed with "tolerance" that they'll allow these children to be poisoned and mutilated to prove it.

The Godfather said...

I notice in the story linked by Young Hegelian that the high school girls who object to being required to use the same locker room as a boy (that is, a person who has a cock and balls) who "identifies" as female, refer to him as "her" and "she". I infer that they've been brainwashed to believe that this is the politically correct way to talk. This is anti-science and must stop. At least 97% of scientists agree that a mammal with a cock and balls is male, and a mammal with a vagina is a female. The science is settled!

And as I mentioned above, the number of people who are uncomfortable with their gender under the foregoing standard is trivial. I don't think they should be persecuted or burned at the stake. But I think we'd get closer to a reasonable situation if we called them by the right words: Has cock and balls: call him male; has vagina: call her female; has some different anatomy: call Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

eric said...

BobM said...
Whenever I hear someone try to justify discriminating against trannies, their arguments always seem to boil down to "Well, I don't like it, that's why it shouldn't be allowed."


This reminds me of the homo sex lie. How is it going to hurt your marriage? Every time I talk to someone against homo sex marriage, they say, because it's going to hurt my own marriage!

Uh huh.

Only, just like no one opposed to homo sex marriage ever said it was going to effect their own marriage, no one ever says, well, because I don't like it.

But without lies, what else would you have?

madAsHell said...

You know.....I don't come here to listen to confused people.

Carnifex said...

shorter version/ Hi. I'm crazy.

skybill said...

Hi Ann,
"Men are from MARS," "Women are from Venus." Some may meet in the nether regions. It boils down to....."To Each His/Her Own."
Got Gunz.......OUTLAW!!!!!,
III%,
skybill-out

JAORE said...

If we all tried the live and let live path it would please me greatly.

Alas.

Deirdre Mundy said...

"I'd dress like that all the time..." if it wasn't for the prep-work, having to rush kids out the door, and the hectic pace of life.

Yeah, so would I, and I *AM* a woman. Look, when you're willing to go without showering for days because you have a newborn, to get up in the middle of the night to nurse, to have idiot men assume you're an idiot because you have breasts, then I'll believe you 'feel more comfortable as a woman.'

Because all I'm seeing is that you wish you could be a prom queen. Which is not what being a woman is, 99.9999% of the time.

RAH said...

It seemed to me that he wants to be sexually attractive and has more opportunity as a woman and the use of makeup. Many women envy males since they do not bother with all that effort.

Peter said...

It's all about power, about the power to bully the rest of us into publicly saying what we privately know is not true, which is that although a crossdressing man may be a relatively feminine man, he is not a woman. It's a demand that we all claim to see the Emperor's New Clothes, that we all acknowledge that black is white, that Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.

"The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink."

MaxedOutMama said...

Writing as a woman who would not be caught dead in a ruffly Swiss dot top, my reaction is that I could not care less about either of these people. Why should ANYONE care? I just can't wrap my mind around why the NYT would waste newsprint, or others would waste their time reading it.

If some idiot thinks he/she looks good in a ruffly Swiss dot top, then that idiot has every right to go for it. Just don't expect the public to care, and don't expect the public to admire, BECAUSE NO ONE'S APPEARANCE IS IMPROVED BY A RUFFLY SWISS DOT TOP. No one's.

damikesc said...

I'm not sure why so many people get so bent out of shape by transexuals (no pun intended). If folks want to cross dress, how does that hurt anybody else?

Well, it costs you $250,000 in NYC if you "misgender" them. So there's that.

Whenever I hear someone try to justify discriminating against trannies, their arguments always seem to boil down to "Well, I don't like it, that's why it shouldn't be allowed." People need to get over themselves, attend to their own business, and stop obsessing over the behavior of others that, frankly, can't possibly affect them one whit.

Except it does. I have kids and I'd prefer to not have fucking lunatics in the bathroom playing dress-up. I'd rather not see psychological damage being labeled as normal.

And that FEMINISTS are humoring this nonsense is even worse than their support of Bill Clinton. If ALL it takes to be a woman are tits, a dress, and make up --- then why the fuck do you deserve any special treatment at all?

jr565 said...

Every step you're making up who you are. But you are already made up. If your formulation of yourself is different than your biology then you are at war with yourself.

jr565 said...

BobM wrote:
I'm not sure why so many people get so bent out of shape by transexuals (no pun intended). If folks want to cross dress, how does that hurt anybody else?

Whenever I hear someone try to justify discriminating against trannies, their arguments always seem to boil down to "Well, I don't like it, that's why it shouldn't be allowed." People need to get over themselves, attend to their own business, and stop obsessing over the behavior of others that, frankly, can't possibly affect them one whit"

Discriminate against transgendered how? Not accepting that gender is a social construct, but accepting that they are their biological sex? If we assume they are the sex they are born, there are laws on the books that says businesses can't discriminate against them according to their sex. In other words, they are already protected by having been born into whatever sex they were born into.
Discriminating against them as trannies would mean you weren't discriminating against them based on their sex.

Take a ladies room. There is already a room set up for women to use. So if you say its discrimination or bigoted that transgendered are made uncomfortable by having to use the ladies room, if they think they are dudes, they are already given access to a ladies room.So are not denied access. They just don't want to use the access given to them. Instead, they want to be assigned something different than what is assigned to their gender under law, even though there is no basis for defining them as other than what they are are biologically.

If Bruce Jenner came out as a transgender when he was still competing int he olympics, even if they gave him hormones for two years before letting him compete, he might still win because he was dominant in his sport. And the question asked would be "Why is he competing as a woman, when he is a man and can compete as one?" It would not be discriminating against him to say "No, bruce. You have to compete as a man." beause he CAN compete as a man. But it would be unfair for him to compete as a woman. To both women and men. All of whom are basing their definition of whether they are males or females on SEX, and not gender as social constructs.

Imagine if a boxer sincerely believed he was underweight, even though he was a heavy weight. Even if we can all see, by looking at a scale that he is a heavy weight. But he thinks weight is a social construct. And he wants to fight as a lightweight. He will completely dominate actual lightweights. Beause he's a heavyweight!
IT wouldn't be discrimination to tell him "No, you are a heavyweight. If you want to fight, you do so in your proper class"

jr565 said...

BobM,
did you hear the story about the fifty year old transgendered male who also thinks he is a 6 year old girl?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/transgender-father-stefonknee-wolscht-who-left-family-to-be-a-six-year-old-girl-uses-childs-play-to-a6775051.html

Which of his delusions is it ok to call a delusion? Or must we accept that he is also 6 years old unquestioningly as well. Clearly we can see he is a man. And clearly we can see he is not 6. But he defines himself as 6. He seems to think that he can define it based on how he feels.
We have laws on the books based on age. A 6 year old can't work. He shovels snow as his job. If we are to accept he really is 6, can he in fact work. He goes out with bikers. If he is really 6, isn't that child rape?
You seem to want to demand that not accepting subjective reality asserted by others is discrimination. Do you accept that he is six as he says? And how should the law treat him? True, he doesn't hurt people by asserting he is six years old.And if that's what he wants to do with his life, more power to him. But it doesn't mean that I have to accept that his subjective reality is a fact. When clearly it isn't. Neither his age nor his belief that he is a woman.
he is a father. He had kids. He still has a penis. How is it discrimination to assert that he can only be what he is?
You are demanding tolerance, but your view of tolerance actually forces people to accept things they know are not true as a reality or face consequences. That's not exactly tolerance. Thats bullying.

jr565 said...

from the link about the man who thinks he's a 6 year old girl.

In the interview Stefonknee Wolscht explains how she MAKES LIFE A GAME and how living as a six-year-old girl enabled her to escape from depression and suicidal thoughts.

“It’s called play therapy, no medication, no suicide thoughts and I just get to play,” she says.


Ok, got it. Its a coping mechanism. its better than suicide. I'm not saying she can't do this to try to cope. My issue is with the assumption that I have to accept her reality as a reality.

"She said that even in jail, where she spent nine days in solitary confinement (but does not explain what for), she played.

She made the cell a kingdom and sang songs there and would not be an adult, so she said they could not hurt her, saying, “If I’m six-years-old, I don’t have to think about adult stuff.”

All that is is refusing to accept reality. Some people are incapable of doing so. And maybe they need to do this to not kill themselves. But there is a reality. She was in jail, not in a magic kingdom. If she's six years old she doesn't have to think about adult stuff. But there is adult stuff, even if you don't want to think about it. All of these subjective realities as identity politics types are first not accepting reality, but then saying you are hateful and bigoted if you suggest that they are in fact denying reality.
in this case everyone knows the emperor has no clothes, including those pushing transgenderism. You are trying to make it be criminal to point it out. But the emperor has no clothes. Whether you deconstruct clothing to include no clothes doesn't mean that we have to as well.

jr565 said...

"She liked the idea of a person containing more than one self, more than one gender. “Part of it is just the fiction of being alive,” she said. “Every step, you’re making up who you are.”

people who make up everything about themselves are often referred to as con men. Or crazy people. Also, sybil didn't really have multiple personalities. That proved to be a hoax.
You don't have more than one self. You don't have more than one gender. It is not a fiction that you are alive, if you are alive. And you might make up an identity, but it doesn't mean you are that identity. Its something you made up. Signifying that its not real.
I can dress like Han solo, it doesn't make me Han solo. I can think Im black,a girl, a woman, an elf. Whatever. I am not any of those things if I'm not any of those things. If I were those things, then I would be those things because thats' what my DNA said I was.
Thats it.