I wanted to call this “What’s Tristen Reading?” but it would be a pretty short post otherwise.  Hence the name “What’s Tristen Read?”

I referenced Jennifer Finney Boylan’s book, She’s Not There, in a much earlier post.  It was the first trans related book I read, and on my therapist’s recommendation, and really discovered myself in her autobiography.  It gave me the courage to be honest with myself and acknowledge I was transgendered and I always would be.  I highly recommend it.

Cover of "She's Not There: A Life in Two ...

Cover of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders

I ended up reading Chaz Bono’s book, Transition.  quite by happenstance.  I’d ordered another book from Amazon.com, Coming Out From Behind the Badge, when I was trying to figure out coming out as a transgendered firefighter.  Here’s my recommendation for the coming out book, it sucks.  At least for transgendered people in public safety.  I was out as gay, though not as a firefighter, long before that and on that level it sucked too if you were wondering.  Anyhow, I ordered Chaz Bono’s book in order to get free shipping (they get me every time that way).I loved Chaz Bono’s book.  Even though he and I are headed in different directions, I really related to a lot of the things he talked about.  But maybe that’s just me and I relate to FtMs better than I do MtFs.  Either way, it’s a good book and I really recommend it.

Cover of "Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Wo...

Cover via Amazon

What seems to be typical with most of us (trans* ppl) is that we move beyond reading autobiographies of those who have gone before us.  So have I.  My latest read was Whipping Girl, by Julia Serrano.  I’ve read some feminist/trans/queer theory on wordpress and other sites before, but this was my first full length book on the subject and I was hooked.  I finished the book in two days.  It’s really opened a whole new world to me.  I assume that’s enough of an endorsement.Anyhow, that was really just a way of leading into an issue I’m still dealing with from the other night.  I was hanging out in my favorite chat room when someone questioning their trans identity joined.  That’s not such a big deal, but there was enough overt masculinity – which we’re all guilty of at some point in the transition process – that an apparent identified crossdresser (they identified as such) started being aggressively masculine and it just snowballed from there.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with masculinity.  After all, I do like guys.  It’s more the off the deep end, invariably aggressive masculinity that I struggle with.  I think on some level its part of the transition process, at least it is mine.  The hard part is I’m not about to start policing my gender space, especially when we’re trying to be inclusive of all trans* identities.  But the word victim comes to mind.  I can’t complain all that much, if it really was that bothersome I could have just left the chat room.  It wasn’t bothersome so much as it was making me feel really uncomfortable, enough that my work partner’s overtly masculine behavior I can normally deal with left me emotionally raw the next day.

After about the first 30 minutes of belching, farting and just generally being piggish, I just couldn’t deal with it anymore and I begged him to stop.  “Oh, grow some balls!”  Interesting, he’s never told me that before.  It felt like being re-victimized.  I even said so, “It’s complicated, but I feel like I’m being re-victimized.  Why do you insist on re-victimizing me?”  I understood by the end of the day, or rather I came to realize that it’s my often overtly feminine behaviors that make him feel uncomfortable.

I don’t pretend to know why a crossdresser chose a predominately transfeminine space to act out aggressively masculine, and it’s not my place to judge.  I do know that the worst insult is to threaten a cisgendered male’s gender identity or sexual orientation.  Why as a culture are we so afraid of feminity and femaleness especially when it’s a male (or perceived male) expressing it?

Maybe I’m like one of those college freshmen that comes home after their first term and claims to know everything, about well, everything.  I would like to get more in to reading feminist, queer and trans theory though (or any combination of the three).  Any and all suggestions/recommendations are welcome.

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