I Am Not My Dress

6 Apr

The other day I ate at a Chili’s and the woman behind the counter was pretty clearly trans.  It made me so happy and got me thinking.

My recently acquired friends tease me for dressing most days like a tomboy.  The other day a friend tried to compliment me, telling me that heads turn when I walk and my roommate teased me ‘she’s a feminist.  She hates that.’

Yesterday I wore a dress.  I’m not going to show you a picture of the dress but I can tell you that any man who saw me in this dress immediately imagined much closer to this:

It’s a great dress but I woke up in the morning feeling like a fraud.  Like I put on Kate Moss Drag last night and had anyone woken up next to me they would have been realized that I was not the Kate Upton character I’d tricked them into going home with the night before.  Like Rita Hayworth said: “They go to bed with Gilda; they wake up with me.” 

Then I read this:

“The fact is that transgender people—in particular, transgender people of color—have simply not experienced the same strides forward as their lesbian, gay and bisexual brothers and sisters. A landmark new report, ‘Injustice at Every Turn,’ presents undeniable proof. This report, released on Friday, is based on a comprehensive survey of over 6,000 transgender people and the findings are too shocking to ignore, especially when it comes to African-American transgender people.

Our transgender brothers and sisters are far more likely to lack proper medical care, to be unemployed, to live in extreme poverty, and to be HIV-positive—and that’s when compared to their white transgender counterparts, not just the general population. The survey’s respondents were four times more likely than the general population to live in extreme poverty. One in five reported having been refused a home or apartment, another one in five report having been refused health care. More than one in five, 22 percent, reported having been harassed by law enforcement, and nearly half reported fear of seeking assistance from police. African American respondents reported all of this in even higher numbers.”

-Mandy Carter, Still No Freedom Rainbow for Transgender People of Color 

If you haven’t already, I recommend taking a look at that report. The race statistics are sobering, and too important to ignore. [x]

Why do I like wearing mens clothes and huge shirts?  Why do I ‘hate’ looking at a man’s face and knowing he’s imagining me in my underthings?  Why do I resent compliments on my physical appearance?

lady: I don’t want to go to Hooters. I’ve only been there once and on the way out they gave me a job application.
gentleman: Well you do have huge breasts.
lady: Yes?
gentleman: Isn’t that a compliment?
lady: No. That’s a fact.
gentleman: Oh. They’re very nice too.
lady: Thank you. [x]

Because I think it’s complete bull that due to my ability to conform to the fantasies of thousands of rich white men I’m treated any better than the contestants on Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

It sickens me that its so accepted that the answer among women is to add make up and victorias secret products to make themselves more perfect, more acceptable, more smooth and ‘female’ rather than reject the notion that More-Marilyn-Monroe-Like must be better than less.

It sickens me that we add makeup and cinching belts to prove ourselves better at this masquerade we call ‘feminine’ rather than pointing out it’s inherent flaws.

I’m not a fleshlight

I’m not a child

I do not live for your attention or your approval.

I am simply as much of a person with as much right to my life and my choices as you, no matter what genitalia I’m born with, what I wear or how I decide to look.

Why is that such a hard concept?

It’s not feminism, it’s humanism.

One Response to “I Am Not My Dress”

  1. Kati April 7, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    “Because I think it’s complete bull that due to my ability to conform to the fantasies of thousands of rich white men I’m treated any better than the contestants on Ru Paul’s Drag Race.”

    That sums up my ambivalence to so many compliments, better than I’ve been able to put it.

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