I Don’t Sound Jaded About Support Groups, Right?

23 Feb

*I use “TG” for transgender, “CD” for crossdresser, “TS” for transsexual, and “FTM” for female to male. Typing words is apparently too much work.

Support groups aren’t always helpful, in my experience. When I went to my first non-college support group I was really nervous. I dressed pretty androgynously; I wasn’t sure how people would be presenting. The crowd was very mixed. There were three TSs on the younger side, mostly blending; two younger CDs; a lot of older CDs; and one FTM. I felt bad for the lone FTM, he must’ve felt pretty outnumbered. The format was a round-robin check in, then a topic du jour. The moderator was one of the older CDs. She wore thick, plastic pears and skin tight dresses over her folds. Her voice was deep and masculine, too, but she wasn’t really looking to blend. She just wanted to be her, and that’s hard to not respect.

The topic was usually pretty general, and yet we still managed to never stay on topic. It was really just an hour and a half long check in. Or, as Frankfurt would say, bull session. And, in the strictest sense, I’m not sure how sincere it really was. I think people like to talk just to talk. One older CD generally stole the floor. She was the oldest gal there, and even as a self-professed CD, also had the largest boobs of anyone there. It’s supposed to work out something like the earlier to puberty you transition, generally the better results you get. Well, she decided to go on hormones, and at 75+ was rocking some wicked Ds. I didn’t know what to make of that. She talked a lot; about how her wife had died a few years back, where she bought bras, really whatever. Part of respecting your elders is letting them go on. So we did. My last time there a girl showed up with a bad wig and told us all about how trans she was. I hate that part.

Trans women sometimes feel the need to let each other know just how trans they really are. Silverback gorillas give scary calls and beat the crap out of each other. TSs argue about who transitioned earlier, who’s on a higher hormone dosage (safety first, yeah?), and even how much they love the cawk. It’s ridiculous. Grown women really shouldn’t be arguing about who needs a dicking more. But, there we go. Years of repression and all, it seems we still feel the need to prove ourselves to each other. God knows we have to prove ourselves to everyone else.

She was like that, only on coke. She talked really fast in a Micky Mouse voice about how much she needed a dicking. It’s a support group, though, so most of us kept silent while a few of the older girls consoled her and piped in at the right moments. She said something about how she had to wear a wig because she was going bald, but no man would want to get with a TS who had to wear a wig. I just nodded and tried not to look at her wig. The whole thing was awkward. You know that guy you see stuttering with the girl he likes, and you feel bad, but you can’t not watch as he goes down in flames? Kinda like watching a car crash? This was like that. Except it made me not want to go back.

After the bull session, those who wanted could go off to dinner together. I never went. I’d love to say it wasn’t so, but I was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of being out in public with them. Now, I’d care a lot less. At that age appearances were even more important to me than they are now. I was in awe, though. None of those older girls blended in the least, and each one went out there and rocked out, got their sushi on. I wish trans women who blend in their teens, 20s, and 30s would take a lesson from that. Calm your nerves and just go out. Then again, it’s easier said than done. It’s hard for me, too. I get nervous, I have doubts.

Are some trans women more “real” than others? I’m not sure who gets to say. I’m not sure anyone should. No one needs to feel invalidated, and the whole thing is burry at best. A lot of hierarchical dualisms exist; young and old, passable and unpassable, post-op and pre-op, beautiful and ugly, and many more. Most of those things are really on a continuum. How passable a trans person is varies by day, location, and who’s doing the clocking. And, no one is 100 percent passable or unpassable. It’s the classic sorites paradox; you can tell when a dude is bald, or when he’s not bald, but at what number of hairs does he pass from one category to the other? When does one cross from passable to unpassable? I dunno, like I said, it varies, and who am I to say? And, if we can’t assess any of this, can we authoritatively claim some people are more legitimately trans than others? Should we? Psst, the answer I’m looking for is “no.”

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


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