Revenge of the lezzie shemale feminists caused Stephanie’s Pillowbook to write about Labels, and then some Explanations, and I was gonna post a comment there but saw a bit of a monster emerging and thought it would be better off here.
It really all comes from six words that out of context reads like an incomplete sentence, and within that is where the ellipsis belongs at the end of that story of Michael and me drinking Long Island Ice Tea in Guangzhou. Stephanie says, “Probably, I have been lucky, though.”, meaning the acceptance by a group of her “preferred gender”.
I was going to write about the pervasive amazement in tranny communities about individual stories and moments of acceptance, and how everyone was expecting the worst. And yeah the list of abuse, discrimination, hate, bigotry, violence, murder just goes on and on. But I got sidetracked.
I ended up writing about someone whom I don’t know, who nonetheless had something of an effect on me. Anna was a transsexual in the porn world, and who recently died in a car crash. As an aside here into porn, Dennis Cooper who has been working with Gisèle Vienne on Kindertotenlieder often writes at great length about porn stars he has known and fucked. That I like porn and think it’s one of the great pinnacles of human culture is not the point, rather, do you, or more precisely, do you look at porn? Obviously if come here often enough you’ve been exposed to my completely unfocussed adoration of smut.
Because, and here I think I have not so much in common with many trannys as evinced by most of the internet forums I have been on, and left feeling … well … like god, I am a freak … nah actually I think, “Jeez these people are uptight”, and get back to smut. I think one of the many things that seduced me into having a sex-change (such old and funky nomenclature I like) was the representations of transsexuals in porn.
If you read many books or forums or interviews where transsexuals are doing the talking, so often Cocks Are Bad OMG!!! I don’t touch it! (I don’t even talk about it and jesus-fucking-christ I do NOT masturbate. Ever. And No Sex Before The Op.) Contra this, shemale porn is pictures of chicks-with-dicks and it’s all cock. Forget for a moment blah-blah-exploitation-blah-blah-opressive-representations-of-women, because that’s not what I’m writing about. On one side there is the first version of the trannysphere, and on the other pictures that profoundly undermine these statements. It’s no different from the “gay for pay” homo-porn boys.
So coming back to Anna, who I stumbled on just after I finished VCA, along with a couple of other shemale pornstars who … I was utterly awestruck at these women, who for me after years of reading boring no-sex-please-we’re-transsexuals at worst or seriously obtuse academic wank from the 90’s identity politics world, were an epiphany.
Despite making some unfair generalisations viz. tranny forums – there are quite a few people out there who share a somewhat similar view to me on our bodies – there is an issue I don’t think I’ve ever seen discussed. For the moment I’m not even sure how to assemble such an idea but …
An anecdote. When I was maybe 12-ish and living in New Zealand, my dad, living in Toronto sent a parcel, birthday, I can’t remember. What’s important is not the contents of the box, but the newspaper used to wrap the gifts (I think Hershey’s Peanut Butter Cups amongst other things). One sheet had this photo of an 18 year old girl who’d been arrested for shoplifting dresses. The freaky-wow factor in all this was “she was a he!”. I was like (extremely without speaking), “omg I wanna be her”.
Which brings me to the issue and back to Anna again. Transsexuals present their situation as – to be really reductionist about it – ‘female trapped in male body’, and ‘I just wanna be the woman I am’. In the scheme of going from male to female (or vice versa, though the dyke/boi/ftm/drag king scene seems to understand this better) the transsexual meat in the sandwich is just an unfortunate waypoint on the journey.
So if I’m looking at a picture of Anna and thinking, “Waah! I wanna be a shemale!”, what does that make me?
And that’s the issue, the idea of choice, that someone might choose to become a tranny because that’s what they wanted to be. To extricate this from the almost identical wanting to be female is … tricky. And yes, if I look at a female body, in a magazine, on the street, a friend, I’m like, “yeah I want to be that”, or … language sometimes gets difficult in that it can’t keep up with multiple tenses and things happening at once, so, “yeah I want to be that/that’s what I am”, though currently +cock.
To be absolutely clear here, this isn’t me questioning my being transsexual/intersex/generally odd in the gender binary department. But to change the word ‘female’ to ‘transsexual’, to look at a transsexual’s body – and this is where I think porn is kinda helpful in that it is the complete body, naked, and also sexual – and say “I wanna be that”, irrespective of if it’s an intermediary on the way to being female or not, is … sometimes my strangeness is weird even for me. Especially when you don’t talk about it.