Orangeban asked: "What do you think about relations between transgender people who experience a disconnect between their gender and sex, and those who do not but crossdress/are drag queens? Do you feel there are hostilities between these groups?"
This question hits kind of close to home for me, because of my own personal experience of coming to understand myself. Originally, my only conceptualization of someone transgender was, essentially, a drag queen. I did not understand that transition was a thing that people do for themselves until I was eighteen, and it causes me to harbor some unhappyness with the lack of trans portrayal in the media. All I knew of was drag queens. If I knew of transsexualism earlier in life, could I have been treated earlier? The question will haunt me forever.
I should also specify: Typically, when I refer in this blog to someone who is 'transgender', I usually mean 'transsexual'. The reason for this is twofold: One, we don't change our sex, we change our gender (making the term transSEXual misleading) and two, it's not about sex(the action) either; which, the term, transsexual tends to make less educated people uneasy and immediately make them think its a fetish. For the remainder of this article, I'm going to use the terms with their 'typical' meanings (to keep everything distinct).
I'm of a pretty firm stance regarding this idea. People who are transsexual are, for all intents and purposes, their target gender. Their brain is wired that way, and as the brain controls personality, who you are as a person, this makes sense as the part which we trust to determine who a person is.
Given the above, you can have a female woman (Cissexual woman) or a male woman (Transsexual woman). In both cases, you're dealing with an individual who is, at the core of their being, a woman.
A crossdresser/transvestite, however, is not. They are happy with their current gender (if they had gender dysphoria, they would be trans, right?) and as such, are cisgender. So therein lies the difference. A transwoman is a woman. A crossdresser is a cisgender man (or woman) dressing as a woman (or man).
In some ways, there's harm caused by us being lumped together under the same umbrella. I'm all for people's right to express themselves however they see fit (drag shows, crossdressing, etc if that's the case) but the problem comes when lawmakers try to put transgender laws on the books, particularly regarding public accommodations such as bathrooms, changing rooms, etc.. Because these groups are under the same umbrella term (when we're really worlds apart) it creates a problem where cisgender men are able to gain access to women's spaces, if this legislation were to pass. The vagueness of the umbrella term is serving to set back transsexual rights and accommodations; and for no real purpose. Transsexuals are NOT like transvestites or crossdressers. At the core of who we are as transsexual women, we are women, and thus deserve access to these spaces. Because we're being kicked off of public protection bills on a regular basis because the term is so broad, it causes some hostility, for sure.
Another common thing I've heard (and often felt myself) is that it creates confusion among uneducated people (which transsexuals are often tasked with correcting, which gets tiresome).
Crossdressers may dress as they like on the weekends, but come Monday its wig off, suit on, and back to work as Joe Shmoe. Drag queens may do performances Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Come Monday, it's dress shirt, tie, and back to the office. But that's not what being Transsexual is. Many uninformed people's first reaction is "UGH, WHY CAN'T YOU JUST KEEP IT TO YOURSELF ON THE WEEKENDS LIKE [so and so]?!" And they miss the point that comparing a TV/CD to a TS is comparing apples to car tires.
I think that's actually where the divide comes. Transsexuals are distinctly different from all others under the transgender umbrella. That's what creates friction. I, as a transsexual woman, do NOT want to be lumped into any category of cis men, no matter what their preferences for dress, sexuality, etc are. We have different issues, different needs, and yet because we're tied to a group of people, people mind you very different from ourselves, we're being denied access to public accommodations.
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