"Transsexuals aren't really the gender they say they are" continues to be the most appalling thing you hear -- both in person and online. The rise of trans visibility has prompted that sort of backlash, with increased presence and awareness proving to be the biggest sparkplug for these misbegotten rants. This year has been a landmark one filled with radical progress in the press machine surrounding the trans movement, but for every giant step forward, there are baby ones back.
Let's not forget the slew of editorials that state
has no real right to womanhood, comics making uncomfortable cracks about the transitioning process, and once-enlightened people suddenly posting Facebook comments saying they hope "surgerized femininity" doesn't end up replacing "
femininity" because that would be a disgrace to biological women everywhere. What's more,
last week's repeal of Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance
on the heels of a fear mongering campaign full of slogans like "No Men in Women's Bathrooms" ignores the fact that genitals have nothing to do with defining one's gender, and that a trans woman in a bathroom is -- duh -- a woman, not a man.
Relax, people. There's room for all types of women and men. Furthermore, you know how I always say that being gay isn't a choice, but being honest about it is? Well, being trans isn't a choice, but following through with
is. The alternately agonizing and uplifting process should be admired -- and it isn't exactly easy, anyway. The idea that trans people capriciously pick a gender and just go there is ludicrous and betrays a real ignorance on the subject, reducing it to something trendy and trivial. Making a physical change like that is challenging, life altering, and often painful in more ways than one. In Jenner's case, she went through decades of soul searching before finally getting up the nerve to act on her impulses. And once she did, she entered a realm studded with torturous procedures (like hair removal) and lots of learning processes, not to mention constant chiding and advice from the entire world. How can putting herself through that have been the act of a dilettante or a phony? And not everyone has the money and exposure of such a star; the potential risks and strains are truly enormous for everyday people who transition, though that's overrided by their burning need for honesty and completion.
Transsexuals who alter their genitals enter a world fraught with even
possible hazards and pain. Is that honestly the kind of thing that comes off insincere or somehow dilutes the pool of "real" men and women out there? They're simply correcting their bodies to match their personas, and cis women (and everyone else) will have to accept that and move on with their own issues. Just like same sex marriage is no threat to hetero marriage, a surgerized female doesn't take anything away from cis women, so what's with the antagonism? Those who've altered their appearance to correspond with their gender should be understood and applauded, and so should those who don't make any physical change at all, they simply live as the opposite sex doctors said they were born as. Take them at their word and go back to your own closet mirror, everyone! Whew. I feel like a real man for having said all that, lol.
Another LGBT controversy floating about in the media lately has been the topic of
's mothering skills (her temporarily missing daughter Chelsea has given some scalding interviews), and the lesbian comic just added some satirical fuel to the fire. At the
Rosie's Theater Kids gala
last week at the Marriott Marquis, O'Donnell joked that her kids sit around thinking up book titles like
Life With Mama Wasn't so Rosie.
But the snark obviously goes both ways. "I adopted a baby at 50," she remarked. "Why? I had four teenagers, and I needed to remind myself that I actually do love children."
Rosie also has a new love for fashion, judging from the shiny silver number she was sporting, which she'd just gotten in her first jaunt to Bergdorf Goodman. "It was like
," she said. "Strangers came over and put clothes on me. And trimmed my pubic hair," she added, grinning. "No, that was a different thing. I don't know what that was." (Maybe something involving Oscar winner
? Kidding--though the two did arrive together. Love it!)
In the course of the hugely successful evening, Rosie also conducted a fundraising segment, brought on the dinner ("Enjoy the rubber chicken"), and introduced a tribute to
. ("The most talented person I know... A tiny, little human form of Prozac"). Rosie's Theater Kids did a zippy
-devised musical homage to Chenoweth, full of short jokes and culminating with one of the performers, Anthony, emerging in full Glinda drag. Then Chenoweth came onstage to congratulate the kids and point out composers
in the crowd, after which she said to Rosie, "I'm so glad I'm your Prozac because you're my Zoloft." Lovely -- and the rubber chicken was really delicious steak.