While I sometimes purchase Pride memorabilia…within weeks or months, I eventually trash it all. In this case, the stickers on my car, laptop, and work mug have all been trashed. My official Nike Pride band for my Watch has also been ditched.
There are some of us who are all about showing off ourselves in pride products. The argument against this is usually, why are the lgbtq community reducing themselves to this one aspect of our identity—the answer is, because so much of our lives are altered because of who we’re attracted, and especially for trans people, who are re-experiencing their lives living as members of a different sex or gender from what we were born and conditioned to live as. When you want to go to a dating event, for LGBQs, it makes sense to go to a gay or dyke bar, because you know you will be with others attracted to the same sex, as you are. If you’re good-looking, you might often wear something with the rainbow so others of a different sex or gender don’t try to flirt with you; while lesbians have to deal with “haven’t found ‘the right man’” all too often, gay men do have to put up with women who think they can gays “straight” through flirting and dating. Some post-op trans people, they will keep their pasts secret from even lovers, because they have fully transitioned (including bottom reconstructive surgery), that they are fully members of the opposite sex, so they may not see themselves as “trans” anymore, so it doesn’t matter.
Other times, when looking for events, members of our community often want to attend ones focused on the LGBT community, as it’s a safe-space. Maybe the event isn’t at all about hookups, but just about getting away from the homophobia and transphobia that are world still has, to relax, to relieve ourselves, to recollect ourselves. Younger members can learn from our elders how to deal with the growing threats to our communities; elders have a chance to get out and socialize. If anything, just to socialize like anyone else, but in an environment free from harassment.
This weekend is New Hope Pride, an annual Pride event that starts in Lambertville, NJ and ends in New Hope, PA. (They have theirs in May so as not to compete with the larger Pride events during June, also known as Pride Month.) I didn’t go because of the scorching weather, but because I am finally done with Pride events. They have become too commercialized, if not highly polarized. I am asocial, so large crowds leave me on edge (this started long before the pandemic). I don’t care for the small groups that are allowed along the route of parades that allow to demonstrate their homophobia. (These are events held by private groups, so in my opinion I think they should be allowed to keep these haters out, just like how other parades can keep our groups out.) Parades that still police presence do not at all contribute to their overtime or paychecks, or hire their own private security. As a straight, transsexual man, I get annoyed after a while with all the gay and bi cis men hitting on me—this is what I get for going to events that were meant for gay and lesbian liberation.
Also, just because someone is somehow LGBT, it does not mean we “have” to attend Pride. It does not mean we have to own and show off Pride stickers, flags, banners. It doesn’t mean we lack pride, or have any kind of shame. Some people can’t because they live conservative areas that may ostracize them at best, or sentence them to jail or death at its worst. Some of us don’t want to; for me, it’s not my aesthetic, and I don’t want people to just boil me down as another tranny.
As someone post-op, I largely feel like there isn’t a place for us anymore at the table. If you completed your sex change legally and medically, are you really still “trans”? If we’re also straight, why are we still called “queer”? Are we still transgender, are we technically “transsexual”, or are we “transsexed” men and women, more akin to “cisgender” than transgender men and women? My life experience reflects more that of other rural, straight men than it does with pre-ops, transgenders, snowflake enbies, and LGBs. Yes, I still can be subjected to “corrective rape”; I may deal with doctors who hesitate to treat me in medical emergencies when they realize I still have a vagina; certain religions still won’t accept me as is if I wished to join—barring specifics like these, my day-to-life reflects that of most straight men in my area, from my attraction to women, to cost-of-living issues in an expensive state, to the daily grind, to balancing work and my private life.
I am a man, first and foremost; being transsexual one is just a descriptor (not unlike being short, fat, or bald), not my totality. It doesn’t mean I don’t identify with the lgbt community at times, but with all the infighting, I’m still surprised we somehow still survive as one. And whether those who are trans should still be aligned with LGBQs…I disagree but those are thoughts I’ll save for a later post.