this is going to be a bit of a rant. fair warning.
around about the same time zeeona began to live outloud, i found some awesome tee-shirts at cafe press online that were very trans-affirming. one in particular caught my eye, it read: ‘my kid’s transgender. if that’s a problem for you, get some help’
i chose that one over others because it dealt directly with a kid’s transgender reality and a parent’s advocating and support of same.
it didn’t occur to me that it was ‘outing’ zeeona, partially because everyone that knows us realizes that the son i’d been raising is gone, replaced by a daughter.
because of this prior knowledge that friends, neighbors and family have (not to mention the various health care professionals, clerks at stores etc.) there has been opportunity for dialogue about transgender issues. some folk who i’d never have thought would be, turned out to be very open to learning about this whole thing.
in a couple of weeks zeeona and i will be at the transgender children’s family conference in berkeley california. she can’t wait to meet others like herself. because even tho she is not ashamed of who she is, and feels a little bit proud to be special and different, everyone likes to feel that there are others who share a reality in common.
so that tee-shirt is a good, supportive, trans-affirming garment; bought at an online store that doesn’t even specialise in lgbt attire.
as for the other tee-shirt in this tale.
it is put out by an alleged friend to the lgbt community; a company called ‘outwear’. but as so often is the case, the last letter of that acronym, the ‘t’ is singled out for marginalisation.
they have actually put out a tee-shirt that boasts: “womyn born womyn”.
now i have long been aware of the exclusion of my fellow sisters from events like the michigan womyn’s music festival and other women only events. long before i had a trans-daughter i had trans-friends. and even before i had a trans-friend i knew this policy of excluding women who weren’t born female was dead wrong!
taking just the words into account, no one, whether female bodied cis types nor transgender types, is a born a women.
we are born babies. we become women. or not. some who are born male become women too!
so who is the more female? the most woman? the one for whom their womanhood is an accident of birth? or the one who had to break through the accident of their own birth to lay hold of the womanhood that reflects who they truly are?
i am cis. born in a baby female body, which just happened to match the gender that expresses my true self. as i grew to womanhood, nothing needed be done.
my daughter is transgender. born in a baby male body, which happens to be at complete odds with the gender that expresses her true self. she will have to actually “do” stuff to achieve what came as an accident of birth to me. she will have to strive against the natural tendencies of a male body, fight them back with hormones and testosterone blockers, and eventually have the parts that violate her sense of being a woman removed.
(note that not all transgender folk feel the need for, and some can’t afford the surgery. it is a paradigm of cis society to wrongfully define folk by their genitalia)
so how can anyone deem her, and those like her, as less woman than those accidentally correct-bodied womyn?
how dare they!!!
and how dare a company that purports to support the lgbt community produce a shirt with a message that can only be one intended to marginalise, no, oppress trans-women!
womyn born womyn? as opposed to those who are women despite the whole of society and even their own bodies being obstacles to them?
shame on you outwear! and shame on any woman that dares to ascribe to the philosophy that puts accidental female-ness above and beyond the reach of trans-women!
so, boycott time! i already for many years now have refused to attend festivals and such that declare themselves womyn only to the exclusion of trans-women.
i hope anyone who is as outraged as am i at ‘outwear’ for this transgression will boycott them as well. maybe even send an outraged email on their contact us page.
what if the tee-shirt had read ‘white born white’?