All the transsexuals I’ve ever met have been crashing bores, and very bad company. Admittedly, it’s a small sample — half a dozen or so — but the lineaments of tediousness have been pretty consistent. The level of self-absorption is extraordinarily high — approaching, or even exceeding, adolescent levels. The range of interests very narrow. Transsexuals don’t flirt like girls and they’re not chummy like guys and no matter what you say or do, you end up feeling you’ve put a foot wrong. They’re like 70s feminists, except with big feet and hoarse voices, and wardrobes that aren’t at all butch but don’t quite make it as femme.
If I were Sex Commissar I wouldn’t ban it, of course. Liberty Hall, that’s my motto. Get the hormones and the surgery if you like, and good luck to you.
These ruminations got started in my head by Chelsea, nee Bradley, Manning, a great hero of mine, and the subject of a very fine piece by Jacob Bacharach, the former IOZ.
Chelsea is fully entitled, as a matter of courtesy if nothing else, to the name and pronouns she prefers. And in spite of her somewhat dismal choice of given name, my admiration for Chelsea remains entirely undimmed. If I were President, I would pardon her, give her the Medal Of Freedom, and pay for her surgery out of my own pocket.
In all fairness, it must be said that Chelsea, in the photo above, looks a lot foxier than any fait-accompli transsexual I have ever met. Of course when the picture was taken, I suppose she was, technically, a transvestite rather than a transsexual(*). And everybody knows how fabulous transvestites are.
Perhaps this is partly because transvestites are still navigating the shadowlands of gender — they have, so to speak, a foot in both camps. Their answer to the ‘identity’ question is, in effect, ‘None of the above’. Which is almost always the right answer to any multiple-choice question.
This American Life — I believe that’s an NPR show, right? — is one lockdown after another: day care, school; the office, or prison, or the army; and finally the old folks’ home or the ironically-named ‘hospital’.
We’re an institutionalized nation. No wonder we dream wild dreams of a wholly other life; some fence we can jump and find lusher, greener pastures on the other side. Of course the fences we might jump are laid down by the culture we live in, and the far-side pastures are as fenced in as the hither-side.
Perhaps the transsexuals I have known are so grumpy because they’ve realized that being a girl in America is no improvement on being a guy, although it may sometimes seem so to us guys.
Lemma, for you girls: Being a guy is also not much of an improvement on being a girl. We’re all fucked, more or less. Okay, you rather more than us. Fair enough.
There were some sourly funny sequelae to Chelsea’s self-revelation. The Nation magazine, for example, tried to crank up a campaign to get the prisons to provide ‘hormone therapy’ and indeed — they’re very radical at The Nation — sex-change surgery, for the Incerceration Sector’s long-term guests.
This struck me as a classic example of crackpot realism. Take it as given that the jailers will have a shocking number of us in their charge, for ever and ever, amen. Let’s make them kinder, gentler jailers.
(*) Lord, how dismal this bastard Latin-Greek vocab is.