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“Just” — A Four Letter Word

| Jan 19, 2008
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TGF Blogger Stephanie YatesSometimes those of us in “the community” can be pretty insensitive towards one another. I know that’s not news to anyone, but it comes out in ways that are pretty subtle sometimes. One of them I’ve seen a couple of times recently in comments posted to other’s blogs is the phrase “just a crossdresser.” It may not be meant as a putdown, but it certainly is. Now the word “just” is a perfectly useful word but when it is used as a adverb in relation to any group of human beings, it’s condescending at best and an outright insult at worst. How would a TS or transitioned TG take the statement “why do you want to be just a woman”? The word “just” makes a neutral question very negative. It implies a hierarchy of worth. That little four letter word implies a lack of understanding, a lack of ability, a lack of acceptable motive, a lack of physique and beauty, a lack of identity, self-concept and almost anything else that the issuer of the adverb might intend. Indeed the only way it could be positive is if it were used in a comparison, as in “you’re just a crossdresser, she is a insensitive boor”.

Yes, I’m “just a crossdresser” in some people’s view. But I don’t see myself and a lot of my friends that way. We don’t have the compelling need to live 24/7 in feminine mode, nor to make our bodies reasonable facsimiles of female bodies. But does that make us less worthy? Does our lack of compulsion to transition mean that we deserve to be labeled as less valuable? Perhaps we deserve to be labeled differently, but not in such a way that we are demeaned. I guess I’m saying that transitioning doesn’t make anyone superior, just different.

I suppose I’m saying that””meaningless charges of political correctness aside””that trite old song is correct: words are like weapons, they wound sometimes. If we’re hoping for acceptance and toleration of differences, perhaps we ought to begin to work towards them within our own community first. Respect and toleration, like charity, begin at home.

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Category: Transgender Opinion


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  1. besweet besweet says:

    Great observation, Stephanie! A related topic – I’ve witnessed, all too often, MtFs who have obviously spent a great deal of time, effort and money to look like GGs. What they’ve failed to cultivate, in their presentation, is the female sensitivity, dyplomacy and just plain old manners! As you’ve pointed out, choice of words should be very high on the list for passing or being accepted as a woman. So much has been written about leg cover, wigs, breast forms, etc. How about some “think before you speak” common sense? How will what you say or print affect those who hear/read what you’ve presented? Example: all the bloody rhetoric over HRC. One side or the other I’ve witnessed some very male-like aggressive talk. Yes, it’s an all-important issue. But, cut out the take-no-prisoners blabber. Please!

    Thank you! LYNDA

  2. says:

    Interesting position and one that deserves relection. I must admit to being guilty of this offense. Although in my defense I have been the lone TV in a group of Tran’s Women where simple crossdressers were looked down upon.

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