Apparently I’m a Lesbian

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Ever since I came out as a guy my mom has been calling me a lesbian. To be fair, my mom has made a lot of head-way in supporting me, but there are a couple things that she keeps getting stuck on.

“Why you can’t just be a lesbian?” she says passionately, “There is nothing wrong with being a lesbian, you know.”

“I know.” I say back to her, “And if I could be one I would, but I’m not one so I can’t.”

She feels there is nothing wrong with me being a lesbian, but there is something wrong with me being trans because trans is just too far from normal. I have too much going against me in society. I have to remind myself that if I wasn’t her kid she would be ok with it. Just today I listened as she told me a story from her college days where she supported the “women who were changing to be men” because she knew them from when she went out with her gay guy friend. She never thought that those people were lesbians, but somehow I am a lesbian.

I’ve gotten numb to it. Three years of hearing the same thing will do that. And she’s gotten a little better. She usually avoids making statements unless provoked by me talking about my life. I continue to try to explain the why the queer women I date don’t identify as lesbians, but since I can’t use my own identity as part of the explanation the point dissolves unsuccessfully.

When I started to date a guy her first question was exactly what I expected it to be. “Is he a real boy?”

“Yes, he’s a real boy.” I said.

She hesitated. “Ok, is he biologically a boy?” She smiled, clearly thinking she was clever. I wasn’t sure if I should be excited about her recognizing a fuller spectrum of gender and sex, or be annoyed cause she was mocking me.

“No, he’s not biologically male.”

“So she’s a lesbian.” she said bluntly. “And what does his mother think about her pretending to be a boy?”

The funny thing is that his mother thinks he’s a lesbian too. When I learned this I couldn’t help but be glad I wasn’t the only one who had this problem, at the same time, I really hated that I wasn’t the only one who had this problem.

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Ding Dong, the L Word’s Dead

I Hate the L Word – part II

Some of my friends recently had an L Word party to mark the final L Word episode, but it wasn’t a celebratory “Ding dong the witch is dead!” party as I would hope. It was a get together to watch the last episode and mourn the loss of the show.

I realize that the L Word creates visibility for the lesbian community, offers media representation of “homosexual” women, and has hot sex scenes. Knowing all that, it still isn’t a good enough reason for me to understand the support of it.

A lot of my friends groan or give me a silenced look when I get angry for their L Word interests. They act like I shouldn’t be upset about it, like I should let it go. It’s easy for them to overlook the shit the L Word does cause it’s not their identity on the line. If there was something (like a TV show) that was great for me but shitty for my friend, I couldn’t support it in good conscious no matter how much I enjoyed it.

And the L Word’s offensiveness doesn’t just apply to its fictional writing. It is made by shitty people. I heard Rose Troche speak (an L Word writer and director, including the pregnant Max episode) and she is possibly the most offensive person I have ever heard speak in a queer venue. In addition to her outing co-workers and making fun of eating disorders, in the Q&A she stated that she believed that she provided an “accurate representation” of trans-people. What ego-pumping drug is she smoking?

Similarly, I know so many people who identify themselves as trans-allies, but support the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) which makes no sense to me. There are so many little outlets of transphobia hidden everywhere, I understand when it can’t be totally avoided. I have been forced to HRC events because I had to be there to do activist work or for performing. But there is a difference between doing the minimum civil interaction in order to get the job done and just being lazy. I even know transpeople who support transphobic outlets because it is easier than standing against it. It’s easier to just let transphobia and trans-exclusion slide a little. What people are failing to realize is that it affects us all. Transphobia is homophobia. It is all based on societal gender norms.

I understand that just because someone likes the L Word or the HRC, it doesn’t mean they can’t or don’t support trans and genderqueer people. And I know that there is an element of waiting and patience in all activism. Still, I can’t shake the emotional reaction. Every time, I can’t help thinking “How can you do this to me? There is no difference between us. You just have more rights.”

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I hate the L Word

So I recently found out that the transguy on the L Word, Max, is pregnant. Are they kidding me with this shit?

I don’t know why I was at all surprised. Max isn’t so much a transguy as he is a compilation of every negative trans-masculine stereotype imaginable. He’s an insecure, hyper-masculine, misogynistic, homophobic asshole. And it just so happens that the character only turned into an asshole after he came out as trans. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the character projects the most unrealistic, negative physical transition I’ve ever seen of a trans-masculine person in the media. And since the world’s current vision of transguys is Thomas Beatie, why wouldn’t Max follow suit?

People argue that the show doesn’t promote transphobic stereotypes. They say that Max is commonly disliked because he has a bad personality. But every negative comment I’ve heard directed at this character is not about his personality. It has always been about him being trans and in the form of transphobic hate-speech.

I’m not saying TV always has to be realistic or representative. I won’t even lament about how if they wanted a transguy, they should of cast a real transguy. All I’m saying is that the L Word doesn’t make transguys lives any easier. I think it makes things progressively harder.

The L Word deliberately exploits trans-identity for entertainment and everyone just eats it up. If a show negatively portrays lesbian and gay people, people organize massive boycotts and campaigns. No one says anything about putting transgender people down. I mean, why would they? It’s not like we’re real people or anything.

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