Friday, 5 August 2016

Abnormal Is The New Normal: The Politics of Transitioning and Beauty

"Your outer beauty will capture the eyes, your inner beauty will capture the heart" Steven Aitchison.

Ah so conservative transgender activist Blaire White. How many US trans people have come across her Twitter/YouTube channel? Wow I had the (mis)fortune of coming across her YouTube page during the recent BLM UK protest Twitterstorm this week. I was open to listening to her views on both the BLM phenomenon and her thoughts about "transgenderism being appropriated by the Left/Marxists/Queer Theorists to further their agenda" so came across a YouTube interview she did for #InfoNews who happen to be quite a Alt-Right but not quite UK media channel. The interview was generated because of a video she did to diss the BLM movement. Fair enough she bothered to air her views albeit in a firebrand way. At least she had a viewpoint on topical issues other than those affecting solely trans people. It makes her relevant to her target conservative audience. Great US PR strategy I'm sure!

Whilst I am sympathetic to Blaire's anger at being presented with death threats by 13 year olds who probably don't know any other way of threatening people other than through the digital pen service that is social media platforming, I wasn't so comfortable with her generic views on transgender people having to be "subservient" to the "normal population" regardless of whether trans people only represent 0.3% of the population. Apparently Ms White believes that transgender people don't need "gender neutral bathrooms" because they need to work hard to pass the normative "pass ability" test- i.e. if you look like a typical conservative woman dressed with long hair and short skirt then you're in, if you dress in a jumpsuit and have vivid short pink hair  then you're deserving of hatred and bigotry. Wow I already know that women get extraordinary levels of abuse hurled at them for daring to dress differently to the norm (i.e. slut shaming) , so just adding the fact they may be transgender pre or post op adds only a tiny smidgen of fuel to that braying fire of intolerance.

Is Transitioning a question of Beauty?

A tweet from Ms White's account on Jul 31st 2016 says "How have things become so backward? How is transitioning with the intent of passing a bad thing? Why would I want to be ugly?" Well Ms White I agree with the second of your three questions...perhaps 1/3 ain't bad given your track record for stirring up tensions. I am in no doubt that many women do transition with the intent of making themselves appear more "feminine" to the public. For some this an absolute necessity; if they had a "rugby build" body with hair all over it the likelihood is they wouldn't pass for a "normal woman" if they went into the female bathroom at McDonalds to take that much needed "No2" after enjoying a Big Mac with Extra Cheese. Trans men have it much worse; they have to have bindings and hide their period discharge in the early stages of transition so sanitary products have to be taken in during menstruation. Do you think it would be considered "wise" to advise them to use the male bathroom of a nightclub when half of the men in there are so pissed up with testosterone they'd hump anything that moves? Or perhaps you believe pre op trans men should have to stay at home during their menstruation cycle because they'd only be bringing the threat of rapes/violent assaults on themselves because of their "transition" stage. Medical diagnoses of "gender dysphoria" won't do much to protect trans men in that particular situation hmmm!

As regards the "ugly" question; well Ms White don't you know "beauty is in the eye of the beholder?"
I know I'm certainly not transitioning to make a man happy or the male figures in my life happy. My Dad expressed concern when I told him I'd contacted my GP (local Dr) to get access to baseline tests to approach a Gender Identity Clinic with to get the diagnosis of "gender dysphoria" which you have to get before you even get access to hormone therapy let alone surgery (a rather Draconian measure designed to try and bind you to gender norms you may not necessarily agree with). I'm not transitioning to attract a better class of men or even to be "taken seriously" as a woman. I've already been mistaken many a time for being a woman and that was just by wearing Soft N Gentle "Orchid & Passion Flower" deodorant and colour co-ordinating my clothes with my sterling silver gemstone jewellery collection. I couldn't care less whether I'd come across as more attractive post transition! Did you only transition because you thought  men would look at you better as a potential "sex object" or "marriage market material?" If so it might explain why you are so ready to dismiss the legitimate battle for gender-neutral recognition for queer people or those blasted bathrooms GOP senators seem so eager to reject even though installing them would probably cost less than the legal battle they are currently engaged in with the US equivalent of The Home Office.

Beauty has an interior as well as an exterior quality. Some trans people transition because they want to achieve an essence of "inner peace"; the thought of living an authentic existence true to their soul regardless of what societal mores have deemed as being "normal" or "abnormal". Compassion and respect for those who differ from your world viewpoint is more important than deciding what shade of lipstick's going to go best with your Christian Dior LBD. My Mum's never been bothered about lipstick or make-up or having long or short hair or moaning about whether the t-shirt that she's seen in Primarni and loves is designated for men or women.  Wanting to "gender normalise" everyone just to make them appear more "acceptable" is part of the issue :) That includes trying to "gender normalise" notions of beauty. There is no such thing as an "absolute version" of male or female beauty.

Gender and sexuality may be linked at times but they are inherently separate concepts. What might appear a form of male beauty/attractiveness to one person will generally differ to that of another even if the majority of characteristics may match up on random Sex surveys that get conducted for mainstream gossip mags such as OK or Hello on a tri-annual basis. I don't particularly find "Magic Mike" types particularly attractive, even if they may be decent gentleman underneath. Some people have no sexual attraction or desire towards people of their sex or the opposite sex. Does that mean they cannot appreciate different forms of beauty not based on outward appearances? I'm sure Eva Braun probably found Adolf Hitler beautiful(she married him at the end after all) but we'll never have the same opinion of him.

I believe abnormality is the new normality; that being individualistic and forging an authentic identity is no bad thing. If we were all Caitlyn Jenner copycat clones then the world would be a very dull, monochrome place- at least in terms of philosophical generation. We may never escape the normative trap that is laid out for us by the Judeo-Christian Patriarchal Establishment, where the only way to get taken seriously is to bind yourself in chains to a partner even if your soul is telling you not to do it. Does that mean my view of the world and beauty should oppress others? Not at all. If me being out in the world rejecting men and wearing long tees and jeans one day and a pink neon dress the other is so oppressively offensive to your cognitive processing abilities that's not particularly my fault.

Ms White has made a point about being "oppressed" by the Left because of their appropriation and banning of terms- "Oppression is not a word that offends you. Oppression is being told you can't say certain words because you will offend someone else". I quite agree with that statement; yes we shouldn't get offended each time we hear a word that we don't like but when you yourself get offended by someone's words that they use against you and you "trash talk" them in return, don't be surprised if you get blowback from that, especially if you use all "cuss word opinions" and no facts to back them up with. You may gain a Twitter/ YouTube following from those that agree with you without challenging any of your viewpoints but it turns into a bit of an "Orwellian dystopia" a la 1984 in the end. #Milogate proved that most prophetically. Besides, if someone called me "tranny" I wouldn't be offended because I've heard it being uttered so many times from ill educated morons who still believe there are only 2 genders in the world. Still doesn't mean people should be given free licence to use it in polite society. Same with derogative "ugly terms" to bait detractors with.

So perhaps Alt-Right media clones and trans against the Left and Centre warriors like Ms White need to start redefining what it means to be beautiful outside of gender norms (if they can be arsed to do so) and start showing respect for those who may have a different viewpoint from her own and debate without seeking to oppress them with tacky cuss words and then maybe they'd get taken more seriously by their detractors and open minded trans individuals.