Category Archives: Exploring Trans

Re: Questioning Trans Legitimacy

Responding to “Questioning Trans Legitimacy

Legitimacy is still something I think about, although not always in the same way as before. I’ve become a lot more secure in my identity as a trans person — I know more trans and genderqueer people. I know people who also came out as trans / genderqueer / gender-variant in their twenties. I know people who also don’t have a classic trans childhood narrative. I know both in theory and in real life that gender comes in a rainbow of varieties, and that helps me feel far more comfortable about being part of that diversity. Continue reading

Saving Grace

EXPLORING TRANS — THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2010, 4:19 AM

No, I’m not referring to the TV show. I’m actually talking about a group I recently joined here, Genderqueer Chicago. I’ve only been to two meetings, but it is changing my life. I know that sounds incredibly hyperbolic and melodramatic, but I’m actually serious. Continue reading

Feeling Dapper

EXPLORING TRANS — SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2010, 10:18 PM

I’ve needed to dress up five times this past weekend and week for graduation and senior week, and I’d been absolutely dreading it. I’m not good with dressing up — it’s a combination of not knowing what to wear (given that all of the messages I’ve received about how to look nice involve dresses and heels and such) and not having clothes to wear (given that menswear is expensive and generally is ill-fitting on me). Additionally, I get really self-conscious because I know that for dress-up events, most of the people around me will be wearing dresses, skirts, and other girly clothes (at the very least, really fitted pants and blazer), and that makes me stick out. Continue reading

Recording Studios + Solos = Gender Issues

EXPLORING TRANS — TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2010, 7:00 PM

I sing with an a cappella group, which I love. It’s one of my favorite parts of my life at college. Today, we went to the recording studio to begin recording my senior solo. Recording is usually a lot of fun, but today it was really stressful.

To start with, I’m not a really confident singer, and my sense of rhythm is surprising lacking for a singer. So, I’m recording the scratch track (the track the others listen to as they record, so that we can all be together), and it fails. I’m continually off the proper rhythm. It doesn’t help that they keep using feminine pronouns for me, which only magnifies the discomfort I’m feeling regarding my voice and gets me feeling even more frustrated.  Continue reading

Listening to the Right Voice

EXPLORING TRANS — THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010, 12:38 AM

It sometimes seems as though there’s this societal insistence that gender can only be either personal or social. It’s either directly due to people as individuals, or it’s solely the result of socialization. Furthermore, I, at least, have felt a message that it needs to be individual, in order to be “real” or “authentic” or “legitimate.”

There’s this idea that how I feel about my gender, or how I present myself, isn’t real if it’s influenced by society. It’s only considered legitimate if I do something because it’s what I want for myself, not because I want others to view me in a certain way. And while I understand and respect the importance of staying true to oneself and not being too bothered by the rest of the world, it’s an undeniable fact that we’re influenced by society. Continue reading

Pronoun Trouble –- Just Read What I’ve Written

EXPLORING TRANS — WEDNESDAY, MAY5, 2010, 7:55 PM

I presented my thesis today at a gathering that the Gender Studies program put on. In the short biography I wrote to precede my presentation, I specifically switched between “ze” and “they” as my pronouns. Everything in my bio was about gender, including the title of my thesis and that I founded the trans support group at my college. Nevertheless, the woman who planned the event still managed to introduce me using feminine pronouns, even as she read my bio. She was reading from the paper in front of her — a paper on which I was referred to with gender-neutral pronouns — and she still called me “she” and referred to my thesis as “her thesis.” Continue reading

Drag Ball Distress (a.k.a. What’s Drag for People Who Already Queer Gender?)

EXPLORING TRANS — TUESDAY, MARCH2, 2010, 1:48 AM

“All gender is drag,” Riki Wilchins writes, in an essay entitled “A Continuous Nonverbal Communication.” To a certain extent, I understand Wilchins’ argument. Sometimes I can even manage to treat clothing as nothing more than a costume, a way to play with the ways that people view me. At the same time, something like the Drag Ball that my college’s rugby team recently hosted complicates the issue. It becomes more than a matter of mere clothing—societal expectations and messages about who I am become tied up in the question of what I should wear. Suddenly, the question of what form of drag I’m going to wear to Drag Ball seems a matter of paramount significance to the overall question of my gender identity, and I feel overwhelmed and nearly incapable of deciding anything.
Continue reading