Here we go again, today in one of the transgender Google+ groups, someone called me a "gurl". Really? Well, you regulars here in Cyrsti's Condo know how I feel about that...not warm and fuzzy. Right or wrong I equate the term with a stereotype I have been trying to lose for years. This time though, my rather snarky reply to the person turned out to be a real eye opener for me. Plus the person gave me my first look into yet another segment of our community I don't think about much-a gay man who transitioned.
Wow, as I thought about the idea and added my somewhat limited knowledge of gay men, I realized how difficult that must be. Finally just getting to the point of not being discriminated against in gay venues for me was tough enough and that didn't include the time it took me to educate them to the fact I wasn't a fetish CD on the "down low" looking for sex or a queen.
Here's the reply (unedited)
Um ... hm. Good question loaded with a valid point. Perhaps this is a topic for a new thread? Regardless, I will answer your question with complete honesty (as I am so impassioned as of late!).
I am still rather new to being openly trans*. I suppose like many others my experience is varied and complex. In short I lived as a gay man for many years. Early in my "coming out" stage I performed drag as a way to express how I truly felt about myself. But, in my experienced, drag queens are acceptable in the gay/lesbian community while trans* is still very much misunderstood. I know many of my past friends (gay men especially) just don't seem to get it. It is still hard for them ... my ex of 6 years couldn't understand why "drag" turned into a lifestyle at home. I never understood why I wasn't attracted to gay men; it seemed I was only attracted to straight men. (An impossible life ... ) I suppose I even went through a few years where a clinician would have called what I was doing as a fetish or that it was more about sex. I have old friends (again, mostly gay men) who think getting dressed up is my way of seducing the straight men I have always been attracted to but could never have while living as a man. So, in the process I have referred to myself as "gurl," "tranny," and "cross-dresser." In many ways those "titles" accurately reflected my knowledge, exposure, and self-awareness.
It has only been by involving myself in trans* communities such as this that I have learned the difference.
Whether you are offended or not ... I am a woman who lived as a gay man performing drag, I was a big ole "gurl" for the longest time, and was less offended in times past by the behavior of a "tranny chaser." I use the term "gurl" as a way of differentiating between CIS women and trans* women. Or, maybe I should say, I used to? But, in this age of political correctness at every turn I also think we can get our panties in a bunch rather easily over some of the most innocent of behavior, speech, and action. I mean no offense. It's only an indication of how much room remains to grow and how much more I must learn. Thankfully I remain open-minded and willing. I hope that clarifies the use of "gurl."
As I said, I was truly impressed by the reply and the thought behind it and couldn't wait to get permission to pass it along to you all here in "theCondo"!