Only once before have I encountered a situation where I was not trans enough to be part of a group but it has happened again in a totally unexpected way. Now I identify as a mature crossdresser and transgender woman because I am married (42 years) and transitioning is simply not an option for me.
Although many transgender people do decide to medically transition, whether through hormone replacement treatment and/or gender reassignment surgery, there’s another significant portion of the transgender community who either can’t or don’t want to transition. due to financial difficulties, medical complications, age, inability to come out or simply lack of desire to change their body. Actually I read somewhere that only 15% of transgender women actually transition (can’t cite reference however).
It would seem obvious that each individual determines if they are transgender or not and it’s a pretty large umbrella. In the 1996 classic The Man in the Red Velvet Dress: Inside the World of Cross-Dressing. J.J. Allen, a longtime cross-dresser and past president of Powder Puffs of California, one of the world’s largest cross-dresser support groups, provides an insider’s view of a world most of us have seen only on talk shows ‘
In her Table of Transvestism, she categorizes the trans spectrum into four main categories and 11 subtypes. The distinctive criteria is the emotional need to express an inner feminine self. The last two subtypes, the Transgenderist and the Transsexual are in the full-time woman category.
Ms Allen’s category of the Cosmetic CD has three subgroups from the closet CD to the social CD and is what I consider the mature or maturing CD. Given that most if not all transitioning women have gone through one of these earlier stages, it would seem there would be some understanding of the transitioning process and certainly our need to explore and express our femininity and the need for support from others as we take the journey.
OK, the circumstances. I belong to a large number of crossdressing and transgender groups, mostly to learn and understand my community and to give back to the community through my many articles in Sister House. Facebook seems to be where many serious discussions take place now and information is exchanged, so while perusing my groups and looking for new groups, I ran across Transgender Women 40+ support family which is a support group for transgender women over the age of 39. Ahhhh! That seemed like a good fit since I am (way) over 39 and in fact have a special section on Sister House just for the older trans women called Femme d’Çertain Age. So I clicked the “Join” button. After checking back about a week later, I still hadn’t seen the approval, so I contacted one of the group admins, a lovely lady, and we had a most interesting conversation.
Here’s where the odyssey begins. First they wanted me to respond to several questions and have an interview. Joining trans Facebook groups used to be an automatic thing but I have noticed in the last half year that some groups are now asking questions. Usually it’s just a question if you are a CD or transgender and the purpose seems to be to keep out admirers (although not in all cases) fake profiles, trouble makers, radicals and people who are just not suited to the group. The interview was a first ever but I consented so I told the interviewer some of my history, my work with universities, my work with gender counselors, my website and my blogging.
We discussed the group rules mostly no political or religious posts and no promotional posts although she agreed that referring to Sister House articles in response to any subject being discussed was OK. The other somewhat confusing rule was trigger warnings. Never heard of them before and apparently they are a special feature of this group to warn the readers of a sensitive issue under discussion. Well OK but it seemed a little over the top for trans women not to be able to deal with sensitive issues given that most of us are faced with them at some time. If you have low self-esteem, you need to be warned.
My interviewer’s final comment was “Tasi, your in. I think you make a wonderful addition to our 40 + family”.
So I gave it a few minutes and went back to the group page only to learn that I was not yet approved. So back to my interviewer asking what is going on. Well it seems that the group owner, Tina Bailey, and several other admins overrode her decision and when I asked Tina directly about her decision, I was ignored.
So the question is why. Here are some of the responses I received from my interviewer. You decide.
- I gather it’s the regular reference to crossdressers or crossdressing. Although it can be seen as transgender, I think the concern is that it could be a confusion to some in the group.
- Our 40 + group is definitely for transgender woman. We don’t admit crossdressers
- Our group has always felt that there are other groups more suited to crossdressing
- Nobody has to transition to be transgender
So there you have it. Another crossdresser hate group with a holier than thou attitude except this one purports to be a trans support group. I hope these 719 ladies are proud of themselves. Interestingly enough most of the admins are friends of my friends on Facebook
Mia Violet did a piece in the Huffington Post called Yes, You’re ‘Trans Enough’ to Be Transgender. She expressed it well when she said “When a person accuses someone of not being “trans enough” it is elitist, self-entitled, cruel-minded horse crap” Couldn’t have said it better.
Hannah Edelman wrote in Odyssey under the title ‘Not Trans Enough’ Is Not A Thing, And Insinuating Otherwise Is Dangerous” There is no such thing as being “trans enough,” and insinuating otherwise can be incredibly damaging… You wouldn’t tell someone with cancer that their disease isn’t legitimate enough to be taken seriously; telling someone that they aren’t “trans enough” is a sickness in and of itself.
And unfortunately, that sickness can be just as deadly
Shame on you, Tina Baileyis article to many of my Facebook groups
POSTSCRIPT: I linked this article to many of my Facebook groups and got both positive and negative responses as you might expect. The negative responses were largely from those who have or are in the later stages of transition and take umbrage that 1) crossdressers take off their clothes at the end of a day and become a man again or 2) crossdressers simply haven’t had to deal with all the issues that transitioning entails, and thus don’t understand and are not trans.
In reading a new Kindle book, International Tran Script, I found this quote by a transitioned woman,
“The only real difference between the closet-tran and, say, Caroline (Tula) Cossey, is one of degree of expression. Am I saying that any tran is capable of going all the way, of crossing the line completely? Yes, subject to environmental and emotional stability. I have gotten into violent, almost physical, arguments over this, mostly with pre-op transsexuals who simply don’t want to believe that their struggle to emerge can possibly exist in the same universe as the casual transvestite. To argue otherwise is to suggest that an occasional crossdresser can never cross the line. Yet, I know it’s possible, because it’s exactly what I did.”
And I would remind the reader that the definition of transgender in Wikipedia covers both gender identity and gender expression.