The next time some big magazine runs some big story about how feminism is
dead and "you ladies can safely shave your legs and date men again," I'm
going to have to stand up and say something. Maybe "Oh yeah?"
"Well, I'm transgendered. And I couldn't accept the fact that I wanted to
be a boy until I read an issue of Ms. Magazine that showed me a bunch of
pro-feminist guys I could imagine becoming. Feminism showed me how to be a
man. It's not dying till I do."
I really want to see them struggle with the conundrum of a man who
used to be a woman, who doesn't hate women - and frequently still is one.
Like lots of trannyboys, I came here from the "womyn-loving-womyn" place,
the radical feminist lesbians who know "not all guys are like that," but
don't really have a good idea of who isn't and how they got that way.
(Does anyone? I've since been trying to keep track of good boy role models
in the national media, and it isn't easy.)
I frequently felt like a boy, wanted to look like a boy, was
thrilled to pass as a boy, but I wasn't sure how to reconcile that with
the kinds of boys I knew. The main problem was: given that all the
fabulous feminist radicals I knew were women... wasn't it sort of
anti-feminist to be turning into a man?
Then I saw this magazine at the supermarket. It was all green and
bright and the cover said, "Do Men Get It?" Here was my chance to find out
what lay ahead. I grabbed the copy of Ms. (it was a happy little hippie
grocery store, ok?) and dashed home.
What I finally discovered was that the answer - at least for men like
Frederick Douglass and the founders of Men Against Sexism - was YES! A lot
of men "got it," and fought for it. And best of all, the magazine featured
a round table discussion between seven men of various ages and backgruonds
who freely admitted that they had no idea what "being a man" meant! I
thought I would be the only one without all the answers, that I would be
revealed as a "fake man" the minute I stood wrong or disliked sports or
showed my feminist stripes. Hell, no - nobody knew what was going on!
I wrote Ms. a long letter thanking them, but I never sent it. I wanted to
thank them for showing me that being born with the right parts didn't
mean you knew what you were doing; that feminism really just means
kindness and avoiding gender stereotypes, and that this extends to and
from men as well.