The Trouble With Tranny

11.11.2010

By Kate Bornstein

At one phase in the evolution of transpeople-as-tribe, it was the male-to-females who were visible and representative of trans to the rest of the world. They were the trannies. Today? Ironically true to the binary we're in the process of shattering, the pendulum has swung so that it's now female-to-males who are the archetypal trannies of the day. The generation coming up beyond the next generation, i.e. my tribal grandchildren are the young boys who transition to young girls at the age of five or six. They're the next trannies. None of us can own the word. We can only be grateful that our tribe is so much larger than we had thought it would be. How to come together'now that's the job of the next generation of gender outlaws.

Labels aren't all that bad when they're used consciously, but a major downside of using labels to describe an identity'even the labels we wear proudly as badges of courage -- is that lables set up us-versus-them scenarios. The next generation of gender outlaws is seeking to dismantle us-versus-them. As a people, none of us deserves to hear the words 'You're not welcome here,' or 'You're not good enough,' or 'You're not real.' My Goddess, we just have to stop saying that to each other, all of us whose identity somehow hinges on gender or sexuality. We have to stop beating up on each other. The Sydney drag queens and transsexuals knew that when they came up with the word tranny to encourage mutual respect.

What's more, the time has come for those who are coping with sex and gender oppression to raise ourselves up to a level of respectability of other marginalized groups -- those working for equity along the lines of class, race, age, looks, religion, ability, family status, and citizenship. We're not taken seriously precisely because our focus is on sex and gender. In the eyes of this culture that makes us morally suspect. What the fuck does our sex or our gender have to do with our morality?! We need to de-Puritanize this fucking culture, that's what we've got to do. It's time to reclaim more than names. It's time to reclaim the moral high ground.

The first generation of gender outlaws made themselves known in the world. The job of the next generation of gender outlaws is to weave all of us gender and sex positivists together as a globally recognized tribe. I'd like to be around to see substantial progress made along those lines.

kiss kiss

Kate

For more from Kate Bornstein, visit her Blog for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws and follow her on Twitter

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