Sunday, Oct 25, 2020
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Sunday, Oct 25, 2020
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Anything But Straight
Not quite good
by Madelyn Arnold - SGN Contributing Writer

Let's wake up - and reinvigorate - the word chattel by applying it to a certain type of chat room user: The kind that gets into a room and prevaricates. You know, lies. I was about to say, "I don't know why it's so important to them" - but I do know why. That used to be the way Gay people tended to talk to one another, but it just doesn't seem to be our method anymore. But there are, however, segments of our segment of society where lying's still found as a bona fide form of discourse.

I think I understand the reason why.

Someone signed into a Lesbian GAY.COM chatroom the other night who "needed our help." It seems that a sister had shown up at her door who had previously been her brother. There were many details - the new sister fit her clothes better than she did, wore her makeup better, had an ampler bosom, etc. And could this sister come online and talk to us?

If you've been on the Internet more than a moment, you've met a chattel who assumes alternate identities and generally lies like a rug. Because we had met our share, some of us assumed that 1) the situation did not exist or, 2) the new sister did not exist or, 3) the "new sister" was the speaker, bragging about real or imaginary measurements.

I should add that some TG folks identifying as Lesbian do participate in that room. What was bothersome was the overstated case, the transparent bragging, and the understanding that the rest of us were fairly dim. In a world this interesting, liars mostly strike us as a drag.

We told her to go to Transgender rooms where there might be good advice, and were rewarded with that stream of incoherent capitals one sees when a chattel tries expressing rage. Lots of misspelled expletives. Needless to say, this person left the room.

This interchange brought up so many issues about how this Community orients toward Transgender people.

I think we need to establish that it doesn't matter if we like each other. It matters if we support each other politically. Socially is too much to ask, except for individuals of whatever kind who share interests. Our experiences haven't always supported that.

It used to piss me off when Trans-to-"straight" opposites would promptly run off, sometimes outing people who were Gay (or even TG/TS). After all, it had been OUR work that had made it possible for them to hide so well. But the culture hoped-for apparently took over their minds and hearts & and in any case, such behavior has changed pretty completely. There was a brief period in which that was common, but you don't see it as much - in cities. You do see it where there's still a reason to be frightened - still a reason to hide.

We have in common that we have trouble accepting our own parts within the most frequent sexual arrangement we know of. Maybe we think we would be happy in the opposite role, but are not happy in that role believed to go with our genitals.

And we all face discrimination in certain places, but not identical discrimination, and class differences among us exaggerate our "acceptance" to a high degree - but wasn't that always true? Heaven knows the number of lairds, prince/esses, generals and emperors that didn't need our "liberation," seeming to have the freedom to be anything. Now, however, there is something approaching freedom. High time, too.

Now we don't have to automatically lie. We can leave all that to the frightened (and troubled) people.

Many Gays want to make it clear that they're not too "femme" or "butch" - not too much like the opposite sex, and certainly not seeking gender reassignment. On the other hand it's been said TSs and TGs believe the sexes to be much more different than the average Gay person does. Many TGs genuinely want to fade into straight society, while Gays of either sex group together.

One would naturally expect anyone determined enough to have had reassignment surgery to woo the "new" opposite sex & that person's original sex, and many do. But some seek the "old" opposite sex. The Community may see this as a kind of betrayal. Certainly it's going out of your way to be Queer.

It's like many of us feel when straights come hunting partners in Gay bars. What are these people doing here? They can go anywhere! We're here because we want to be with our own kind. In other words, TGs can be seen as their new sex, and therefore as straight-hitting-on-Gays-of-the-opposite-sex. But it isn't too difficult to understand that they may still be more comfortable in the Gay world. Maybe they just like being around the rest of us.

It's pretty ugly. When I was coming out in the early '60s, I began to believe that almost everyone I knew was, in some sense, a liar. I don't mean just that we had to lie to get by, I mean Gays seemed to lie automatically. An engineer was a pilot, a teacher would say she was a nurse. People made up entire lives in which they might not even be interesting - just different. I got to the point where if someone told me she liked Scotch, I knew she drank gin. And it was catching.

When later a shrink told me that homosexuals were at base antisocial personalities, it was hard not to believe him. When what you are is more horrible than anything you could do, it is hard to hold on to any morals.

So too, the first Transgender individuals I worked with at a Sex Institute told astonishing lies - or what certainly sounded like it.

A woman going through the initial therapy would tell you about her "boyhood," but it wasn't hard to understand. One of the things we do when we bond with others is compare lives; why would TGs who want to fit in to the ways of the world want to draw attention to their previous sex?

I'd like to think that all of us are stricter with the truth and more forthright with others, now that most of us are treated better, most of the time. One of my closest friends, who is TG, likes me enough to trust me with the unvarnished truth about his life.

That chattel the other night is now the exception. Which is truly social progress.

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