Saturday, May 31, 2014

Trans Ohio Uno

If you hang around Cyrsti's Condo much, you have read me write about the Trans Ohio Symposium going on about 50 miles from me in Columbus, this weekend.

Since Liz and I volunteered to help today, we were allowed to "sit in" on any of the workshops we could.  Both proved to be extremely interesting.

The first was presented by Kristen Precht-Byrd, who is an Assistant Professor in Applied Linguistics at Kent State University here in Ohio.  Among other things, she is working on "Tendencies in Gendered Communication."  Or, in other words, the tendencies  of how cis women and cis men tend to communicate in different ways. Some no real surprise- such as emotions.  Of course, cis women are the highest and cis men are the lowest of the genders apt to use emotional words.  But then, the professor began showing us studies of how transgender men and transgender women do or should use these tendencies to further each's personal transition to their non birth gender.

I'm not going to get too technical here and here is her email for more information: kprecht@kent.edu. 

On the other hand,  what I found extremely interesting was how across the board- trans men did not fit easily into many categories.  According to Professor Precht-Byrd (who is married to a transgender man) , she is still researching if there is an answer of why trans guys on occasion seemingly fall right in line with their cis-guy counterparts in areas such as emotions and negative judgement.  On the other hand, they seem to retain their feminine heritage and rank right with cis-women in other key areas. By the way, there were several trans guys in the room who remained true to their gender-by not saying much about their thoughts on the matter.  Sound familiar?

For once it seems, we trans women may have an easier tendency of shedding more of our male pasts than our trans guy counterparts. After we learn to communicate in the world as feminine critters.

What's it mean to us? A chance not to obsess on sounding like legendary actress Lauren Bacall   the American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks. Don't me wrong, I would love to sound like her but more and more I relate to her emotions on the screen.

Today I used an example from the 1942 classic movie Casablanca I answered one of the workshop questions (to Liz) on how would  I respond to the sentence "We went to the movies."  Liz and I went to a big screen re-release of it last year in a Cincinnati theater. I said now,  the World War II tragic theme was not what I remember the most. When I went this time, the movie  emotionally overwhelmed me to the point of tears as I viewed it from the eyes of  Bacall and Ingrid Bergman.  I wasn't going to even bring it up to the group and just leaned over to whisper it to Liz and then I had too.

I still have a standing paranoia that people think I'm trying too hard with this woman thing.  Similar to being mistaken (or labeled) a drag queen/tra--ny.  I have no idea of how long this phase of my transition will take to disappear but in the meantime (after today) I have a better working knowledge of how the binary genders communicate and where trans women and trans men fit in.

Our second workshop of the day was to go into a totally different direction which I will pass along later! 

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A Life in Gender Flux