So every day as a transwoman, you go through life thinking we’ve made great strides in aceptance by society, and then you get walloped back by reality, and what the status quo really is.
As some of you may know, I fiddle around with cars, so I am sometimes involved in car subcultures and go to car shows, talk shop, stuff like that. And before you scream that this is somehow unladylike, sorry folks, its sorta in my blood, and I don’t feel its a hobby that is mutually exclusive to one gender. Plus, what you drive also makes something of a difference, because there’s a world of difference between one car subculture and another.
Oh and by the way if you’re wondering where this all comes from, my dad was a mechanic, and a hoarder, and even if his collection was mostly junk, it was damn interesting junk. And yes, I would kill for some of what he once had. Tales of the $50 Auburn boat-tail Speedster that why oh why didn’t you just lock this in a barn so I could discover it now are pretty common, and I could fill a whole chapter in a book on my relationship with interesting cars, sadly nothing that nice has survived to my time.
My dad’s thing was air-cooled VW’s, and as I grew up I got into more interesting stuff as I found the bugs a little lacking. I was more attracted to unloved, oddball cars. My first car purchase was a 1970 Citroen DS, and then my first actual car (as in the first car I drove that I ever registered) was a ’72 Saab 99. Actually, I still have it.
So what I’m driving now is silver Saab 900 turbo from the 80’s, which was still interesting enough to bring it up to “Swedish Car Day”, up in Boston MA
Now when I go to these shows usually I have more knowledge about wwhatever car I know about, than the average girl, so sometimes that gives me away as being trans. And I’ve gotten to the point where I sorta don’t care anymore, though I get that whole “wow! a girl who knows how to fix cars! ” reaction from guys, to which I have a sheepish grin to that “there’s a reason, and they have no idea”, but actually, this story -which I will get to eventually- isn’t even about that. In some car subcultures, I’m pretty out, in some I’m not.
I’m pretty active in the French car subculture, which is one of the most inclusive comminities to people who live alternative lifestyles. Because when you have this car is in your collection, theres really very little crossover with the Mustang and Camaro guys.
But this isn’t even about that. It’s about sometimes the pitalls of blending in.
You see, I didn’t catch the beginning of this conversation that I heard about 20 feet away, but I’m going to guess that the word “tranny” was spoken. Saabs have a unfortunate reputation for their transmissions being well, fragile, but I can only guess that someone said “tranny” to this guy. Anyway, all I hear and see is:
“Oh yeah, I’m a trans- gender, I used to be a woman!” (lots of laughs)
Now I suppose I can take a “trans” joke here and there, and almost expect cis people to make disparaging remarks about things they don’t understand. But it was the way it was said, and the absolute certainty that this guy had in knowing that there weren’t any actual trans folk around. And I’m pretty sure that this joke didn’t come about because people knew there was a trans person in their midst. You can crack jokes about this thing that you’ve seen on the TV, which you assume doesn’t really exist in the real world, right? It’s like it’s just that Caitlyn Jenner thing in Hollyweird.
Let me describe it better to you this way. If you’re a white personand you at a party with mostly white people and then some friend of yours drops the n-word bomb and goes off on some racist rant and your jaw hits the floor and you’re like I don’t know this person who the fuck invited them? But hey, we’re all white, we all think the same, right? What. An Asshole.
So, this guy -who just so you know, was not actually a transman- just assumed he can crack a transphobic joke and everyone will laugh along with it because we’re all non LBGT people here I guess. I’ve noticed that public jokes shaming queers pretty much don’t happen any more, because, you can’t really tell someone’s sexuality from looks- (though when I was growing up in the 80’s, limp wrists and wearing yellow on Thursday were dead giveaways!). So obviously if there was a trans person within a mile, obviously it would look like Danny Devito in a chiffon dress, right?
I wanted to say something, oh I so had so many things on the tip of my tongue. Or on the tip of my knuckles because I wanted so much to punch the asshole. I really, really really kept it in. The sane thing I wanted to say (but of course you think of long after) would’ve been something like “Excuse me? Was that some sort of a dig at trans people? What, you think there aren’t trans people out there, you’ve probably had conversations with many of them and never even realized it. You think it’s easy being like this, with assholes like you out there?”
But that was not to be. Later on I paid more attention to him, noticed the ‘MERICAN FLAG t-shirt he was wearing, and caught snippets of conversation between him and the people he was with (judging from their ages, likely his son and wife or daughter and husband). There was “blah blah blah, I can’t believe so and so voted for Obama”, and then something about Hillary and the email scandal and it’s going to be big, blah blah, all this time, never making any eye contact with him, but I was giving him the hairy eyeball. It was pretty clear this guy got all his news from Fox News, and sadly those people are beyond help.
And I’m just thinking, you know, if I ever thought of not being a liberal, file that under never gonna happen. Later on I pretty much figured out why guys like this are so transphobic. Mostly its because to them, women are seen as mostly things for fucking, not actual people, and God forbid that his wee wee twitch when seeing a pretty girl and Oh! SNAP! Thats not a real girl! You HOMO!! You’ve just been Punk’D!! HAR HAR HAR!
Well, at least that’s my best guess as to why cis-normative people are transphobic. Fuck these guys. And in the next car show? Well I was actually thinking of sending out a hint by wearing a low cut t-shirt with a iron-on of a car transmission, with the label “GEARBOX”.
So, we got a long long way to go. And this happened in nice liberal Massachusetts. These types are the 30% minoritiy here, in other parts of the US, they’re the majority and people like us get killed by people like him. What would you have done?