Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Transforming Gender: The Train Station
A recurring column
by Rebecca Juro
2015-07-15

This article shared 3998 times since Wed Jul 15, 2015
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


It's about 9:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. I'm at Penn Station in New York waiting for a train home to New Jersey after an evening in Manhattan with a friend.

An older woman and her husband are sitting about 30 feet from me. I'm reading a book on my iPad and not really paying close attention until I hear the woman say to her husband, probably not quite as quietly as she'd intended, "See Marty? Look at how she holds her hands. It's like a man."

I peek over out of the corner of my eye, but the woman is oblivious to me as she reports her observations to her husband. I return my gaze to my iPad and listen more closely.

"You can always tell with the hands, Marty. That's the giveaway. The hands."

The woman does have a point. I have big mitts like my father did, and I generally don't have my nails done because I do so much typing they tend to chip and get in the way.

There's a zone many trans women of a certain age live in, especially those of us who have lived our lives still in possession of fully or semi-functional testosterone factories between our legs, and particularly those of us who begin estrogen later in life. It's the zone where we'll often pass through life unnoticed for the most part but a truly keen observer may detect us as trans. It's the zone where even though someone might suspect that we weren't designated female at birth, they're not quite certain enough to risk a public comment that could be extraordinarily embarrassing if proven wrong.

That's where I live, and it's where a lot of middle-aged trans women live. It's the grayish life space where you're less likely to hear "That's a man!" and more likely to hear "Was that … ?"

To be honest, it's not such a bad place to live most of the time. It usually doesn't involve being misgendered, and in some cases, recognition that a woman may be trans may even encourage increased courtesy in some circles. Most of the time it means trans women like me can expect to be treated the same way in our daily lives as those who began life with an F on their birth certificates, and that's as much as a lot of us have ever really wanted.

It's largely because of the social and cultural stigma associated with transitioning from male to female that trans women are scrutinized and vilified much more than trans men generally are. There's an unspoken cultural agreement that being a man, masculinity and manhood, are goals one achieves, signs of strength and competence. Conversely, femininity and womanhood are traits which are all too often culturally understood as lesser, indicators of weakness and subservience.

Thus, those designated female at birth who behave and present like men are popularly considered ambitious and strong-willed while those designated male but present and live as women are commonly considered to be failed men who are unable to cope with the demands of being "a real man" and are thus reduced to the "lower" status of women.

In the end, it all goes back to the elderly woman in the train station. Had I been designated female at birth and wearing a men's suit and tie, chances are she wouldn't have noticed or cared. Masculine affectations in someone perceived as female aren't generally considered a problem, and often are even seen as cute and sexy. However, when a visibly trans woman says, does, or exhibits something that strays even a little bit from what's considered the cultural norm for cis women, she's frequently defined as an imposter and by extension, a potential threat to those around her.

Just as some heterosexuals see gay and lesbian relationships as a threat to their own identities, so too do trans women have to confront not only men who see us as a threat to their own concept of manhood and masculinity but also women who see us as pretenders and interlopers in their territory.

There's a lesson to be learned here, and as always, we're going to have to teach it to the rest of the world:

For the most part, we're just average, everyday women with unusual life histories. We're not men who became or live as women because we were never really men in the first place.

If trans women can successfully make those two points to the world at large, we win.

Rebecca Juro is a nationally published freelance journalist and radio talk show host. Her work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Advocate.com, the Washington Blade, Gay City News, and The Advocate magazine, among others.


This article shared 3998 times since Wed Jul 15, 2015
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Brittany Devon meets a 'Platonic Girlfriend'
2021-09-15
Queer, genderfluid actor Brittany Devon has created a brand new project to explore with Platonic Girlfriend. It is the story of a relationship between straight woman Alice and a queer, nonbinary person named Dev. Devon stars ...


Gay News

Gov. Pritzker signs transformative energy legislation for Illinois
2021-09-15
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Delivering on principles previously laid out, Governor JB Pritzker signed landmark legislation into law that puts the state on a path toward 100% clean energy, invests in training a diverse workforce for the jobs ...


Gay News

AstonRep Theatre Company announces 2021-22 season:
2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Sept. 13, 2021) — AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to welcome back live audiences this fall, kicking off with a revival of Yasmina Reza's frenetic dark comedy God of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton and ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Teachers, GLAAD talks HRC, 9/11 items, Dr. Rachel Levine
2021-09-12
In North Carolina, a former teacher won a lawsuit against Charlotte Catholic High School and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte after he lost his job following an announcement on Facebook that he planned to marry ...


Gay News

WORLD False report, Indian activist dies, fashion exhibit, LGBT Awards
2021-09-12
In Spain, a man who claimed eight hooded men carved an anti-gay slur on his butt using a knife in a horrific hate crime later said the act was consensual, according to out.com. According to police ...


Gay News

Dutch study: Transgender people face twice the odds for early deaths
2021-09-08
A long-term Dutch study revealed that transgender people have double the odds of dying early compared to folks whose identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth (cisgender), according to the U.S. News & World ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Idol' alums, Zendaya, Gaga, 'Queer As Folk,' women rappers
2021-09-05
American Idol alum David Archuleta said that God urged him to come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, NBC News noted. The Nashville resident told Today.com he wasn't sure if the community would embrace ...


Gay News

WORLD Anti-TGNC vote, #VeryGayRaptor, Brazilian governor, Scottish poll
2021-09-05
In Australia, the government voted down workplace protections for transgender, non-binary and intersex people, OutInPerth.com reported. The senate was considering the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment ...


Gay News

MUSIC Laura Jane Grace gives good advice to future trans and queer artists
2021-09-04
For one hour and 48 minutes, Laura Jane Grace will take listeners on a journey with the new Audible project Black Me Out. This transgender musician covers a great deal of territory in the session, from ...


Gay News

Get Out! LGBTQ travelers show how to travel safely this fall
2021-09-01
By Ed Salvato, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association - Just when we thought it was safe to hit the road, we were walloped by the Delta variant, the latest plot twist in the 18-month-and-counting pandemic story. The surprising data that fully vaccinated people could transmit ...


Gay News

Gender-affirming care associated with lower suicide risk for transgender people
2021-09-01
--From a Williams Institute press release - A summary of current data on suicide risk and prevention among transgender people in recognition of Suicide Prevention Month Transgender people who need and receive gender-affirming medical care have a lower prevalence of suicide thoughts and ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Marsha P. Johnson, Utah, five-year study, Pride fests cancelled
2021-08-29
In New York City, visitors to Christopher Park have been greeted by the bust of the late trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, ActionNewsNow.com reported. The bust was erected on what would have been Jonhson's 76th birthday—and ...


Gay News

Virginia school district settles with Gavin Grimm
2021-08-28
A Virginia school district that discriminated against a transgender individual by making him go to the bathroom in a converted supply closet will have to pay $1.3 million in attorney's fees and other costs accrued over ...


Gay News

Report features eight Illinois child-welfare agencies working with HRC Foundation
2021-08-26
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a new report ...


Gay News

Trans woman and cancer survivor makes her debut at SEA BLUE Prostate Cancer Walk & Run
2021-08-23
Among all the men, Iris Farley—a prostate cancer survivor and trans woman—will be running in Us TOO's SEA Blue Prostate Cancer Walk & Run on Sept. 26 in Lincoln Park. Farley, a Chicago resident, is the ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.