She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister

August 30, 2008

Transsexuality is a complex and contradictory condition. It cuts across all boundaries: class, race, age, sex, laws, you name it. It has its origins in biology as well as culture: nature and nurture.

One result of this intersectionality is that transsexual people form a very diverse group with as many differences as similarities. In my darker moments, I find solace in knowing that – just as our transsexuality links us, even though we are such a disparate bunch – it’s our diversity that ensures we can celebrate our experiences, shared and different. And by that means, we develop a sense of kinship, yes, even community.

We are, each of us, unique individuals bound by a common condition which manifests itself in many, many ways. I see no fundamental difference between a trans person like me who has undergone surgery, and one who hasn’t. We both have to deal with gender dissonance, and we’re both in the same oppressed minority. She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister.

So, when I read garbage like this: http://ts-si%5BDOT%5Dorg/content/view/3454/995/ – well, it makes me cross. Did I say cross? I meant to say – angry. (And no, I will not link directly: I will not boost this idiot’s Technorati rating).

See, as long as some HBS people are trying to tell me that all they want is “a nice neat binary, with HBS men and women easily and clearly distinguished from a variety of self-advertising publicity-seeking ‘TG Pride’ paraphiliacs and fetishists” – or that “true transsexual” women look and act feminine before transitioning, and the rest of us are somehow unworthy fakes, then I just want to slap them. Hard. Never mind all the sham niceness and oh-so-reasonable tone – just where the hell do these idiots get off with their essentialist bullshit? Who appointed them as judge and jury about who is trans and who isn’t?

I was 50 before I began my transition: not by choice, just circumstances. How my life turned out. Half a century of testosterone damage does not make me “less trans” than someone who was fortunate – privileged – enough to transition young. Maybe it makes me more vulnerable to street harassment, discrimination, bigotry and random acts of violence – but it does not make me any less of a woman.

Those HBS people who adopt cis/heteronormative standards for defining who is a “true transsexual” and who isn’t – are no better than any of the cultfems it has been my misfortune to tangle with.

Let me put this as simply as I can: because a trans person has had bottom surgery does not make hir “more trans” than any other of my sisters and brothers (and let’s remember that HBS people are predominantly white and middle class – privileged, much?). This is not a competition. Transsexuality is not a lifestyle choice. Transsexuality is about survival. It’s about an oppressed minority hanging together, and looking out for each other.

In their scrabble for cis validation, many HBS people seem to have forgotten that we’re on the same side. But if they persist, if they attack just one of us, then they attack all of us. Pick on my sisters and brothers and you pick on me. Pick on me, and you pick on my sisters and brothers. We may be few in number, but together we are strong.

And if they think the rest of us didn’t notice their disgraceful comments to Mercedes’ DSM discussion over at Bilerico, think again. Reparatists and quacks like Zucker and Lawrence are empowered to decide the fate of my sisters and brothers – and we’re supposed to be concerned that some HBS people’s delicate sensibilities are offended?

And don’t even start me on these offensive comments. My sister, Angie Zapata, lies bludgeoned to death by a man who’s already confessed his guilt – and these HBS people still maintain Angie was responsible for her own murder? Listen, idiots, I’ve already told you: if you attack one of us, you attack all of us.

HBS people like this are part of the problem, not the solution.

And you wonder why ‘ordinary’ trans people like me are angry?


The Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go

His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there

For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share

And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy he’s my brother

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

(Via YouTube)


3 Responses to “She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister”

  1. Joni Christian Says:

    Imagine the world that we all have freedom.



  2. femme Says:

    Upon reading your article I had to then read through the ts-is site to understand what your problem was since it really wasn’t explained well, least that was my feeling when I read your post.

    That said after reading the TS-IS article I found myself alarmed at what Clarke style assumptions were being made.

    I hope others who read that article take it for what it is and discount any idea that this person could be a real professional, since I know none who weep as many times as this one seems to during sessions.

    And I among of those who believe that there is a distinction between people that are transexual and people that are transgender. I believe they should be made clear rather then just using the blanket term transgender for all. I constantly post on various blogs that they should be using both terms thereby allowing both identities to be recognised.

    For me it’s important that each self identification be recognised and celebrated. Much as was done when the term lesbian was created for women who were gay.

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