Friday, March 5, 2021

Bad News and Good News

By Paula Gaikowski

Last week, there was bad news for transgender persons and there was good news. 

First the good news, the House passed the Equality Act, a bill that would extend basic rights to the LGBTQ community. It just needs to get past the Senate with 60 votes where I am sure it’s in for a fight. Ironically the overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of the law (many assume that LGBTQ already have these protections).

If you walk down the hallway in the Capitol, you will see the transgender flag proudly displayed in front of the office of Congresswoman Marie Newman. The congresswoman put it there in support of her 20-year-old transgender daughter.

Now for the bad news, Congresswoman Marjorie Greene reacted to the flag by posting a transphobic sign meant to appeal to people’s fears and prejudices in the culture war that the GOP stokes daily in their only hope of gaining the electorate.

The sign she posted reads, “There are only two genders, Trust the science.”

There are so many things wrong with that statement besides just being hurtful and hateful.

1. Gender is a social construct, not biological. Ironically, after denigrating science when it comes to climate change and the pandemic, Greene uses science as a tool, although incorrectly.

2. Greene probably was referring to biological sex. However, it is scientifically evident that intersex persons exist. A common argument amongst transphobic people is that you are either XX or XY chromosomed and that defines your sex and gender absolutely. Intersex persons are much more common than one would think. Here’s a list of famous intersexed persons.

3. Her statement that there are only two genders is also incorrect. Let us not forgot the non-binary members of our community. Our culture has predominately recognized two genders, male and female and that Ms. Greene, is where most of us transgender persons struggle. We struggle with being the wrong biological sex and along with our biology, we are assigned a social gender. Gender and sex are two different things and transgender persons struggle with both.

All of this illustrates how far we have come in the battle for transgender rights, but also how far we must go. When I think back to my 20’s, the idea that a congressperson would plant the transgender flag on Capitol Hill and be advocating for her transgender daughter was a distant dream. Add to it the fact that being transgender is no longer a tabloid curiosity, but common in all our communities. 

Wherever you are in your journey, whether closeted or transitioned, remember not to be afraid to advocate for our community. It’s time to speak up and defend transgender people by showing our support. We can object to rude jokes and stereotypes, correct persons misconceptions and support gay and transgender colleagues. We need to take a stand and show acceptance and support for transgender persons and make transphobic behavior socially unacceptable.

Wearing London Times
Wearing London Times

Mateusz Jakubiec femulated Lene Nystrøm Rasted (Aqua) on Polish television's Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo.
You can view this femulation on YouTube.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Gal Friday

By Paula Gaikowski

“Gal Friday” is a female assistant, who is capable of many different types of tasks. Today, the term can be considered outdated and sexist. So today, “Gal Friday” is when on any given Friday, one becomes a gal. Let me tell you it was the latter and long overdue.

After a year without dressing fully, I had the house to myself for the next two weeks as my wife, with whom I have a DADT arrangement, flew south. She does give me time to get my girl on, but it’s hard to relax and enjoy when I know she’ll be home in two to three hours. There is also knowing that she just doesn’t like it and never will. There’s that implied sense of disapproval that hangs there unsaid, but is still evident. So two weeks of self-expression is just what the doctor ordered. (I actually wrote a column about that a few years back, “Doctor’s Orders.”)

I dropped her off at the airport on Thursday and stopped on the way home for a pedicure. The manicurist at the nail salon in small town Maine didn’t bat an eye when I asked her for a French pedicure. I told her I was transgender and wanted to look nice when I went out. I also did some outreach, told her my story and she shared that her friend has a transgender daughter.

I am amazed at the awareness and acceptance people have these days compared to 2008 when I first started going out. Back in 2008, I was given cold receptions at clothing shops and wig salons a few times. They made it clear, I wasn’t really welcomed. 

Sales associates now understand what it means to be transgender and are empathic. I haven’t had a bad experience since 2008 and the last few years, I feel as if we are now just part of the modern culture. 

The rest of Thursday was body maintenance day and fashion prep.

I got up Friday morning excited. I dressed in my favorite skirt and top, then put on makeup, perfume, fixed my hair and slipped into my favorite pair of pumps. I was filled with such positive emotions and energy. I felt 20 years younger.

Then I prepared for a busy days of Zoom meetings and reports. The day flew by. I stopped a few times to freshen my makeup and fix my hair. It was healing to see lipstick stains on my flowered coffee cup as I ran over the latest training plan for new products. I kept my camera off, but there was a part of me that just wanted to turn it on and say, “Hey there, world. This is who I am.” Maybe someday soon. 

The day ended too quickly. I stayed in my gal clothes, made dinner, had a glass of wine and with the snow falling outside, I lit a fire and drifted off dreaming of...

Wearing Wayf
Wearing Wayf

Two young men

Monday, March 1, 2021


Breaking Bad Dept.

As you may recall, I took a break from the blog last week. I did not have the energy to blog (or do much else) because I was ill. 

I thought it was a minor thing and I waited all week long for it to go away. When it did not, my family insisted I go see a doctor where I learned, surprise, I have shingles!

I am over the hump and the rash is slowly going away. I just hope that I don’t have any long-term problems.

Shingles sure puts a damper on crossdressing! Any clothing that touches the rash can cause pain, so the looser the clothing, the better. I won’t be donning any foundation garments or bodycon dresses for awhile.

Who Wore It Better Dept.

On a lighter note, the blazer dress that Tina Fey wore while hosting the Golden Globe Awards Sunday evening reminded me of the blazer dress I wore at the last Hamvention.

Wearing New York & Company
Wearing New York & Company

Noël Czuczor femulated Cher on Slovakian television's Tvoja Tvar Znie Povedome.
You can view this femulation on YouTube.

A Level Playing Field?

By Gina

I recently read there is currently a ruckus going on in the rugby world, as a result of transgender players being informed by the sport’s ruling body that they cannot take part in the women’s version of the game. That gives me an opportunity to look at similar situations over the years, where the sporting status quo has been changed as a result of developments in the greater scheme of things:

When talented amateur tennis player Dr Richard Raskind had Gender Reassignment Surgery in the 1970’s, as Renée Richards (s)he she put the cat amongst the pigeons by entering women’s professional tournaments. Along with other physical advantages, at over 6 feet tall she had a head-start over most of her rivals (ho ho). In the end her advanced age did for her as a singles competitor (her male peers had long-since retired), and as such she failed to give the likes of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova sleepless nights. But suppose she had been in her physical prime, where as such she might well have blasted them into oblivion? And despite her belated entry into the arena, she still managed to reach the ladies doubles finals of a major tournament (where ironically one of her genetic opponents was nearly as tall and physically-imposing as she was)!

When I was in my mid-30’s I considered myself to be a decent badminton player, if a somewhat rusty and out-of-shape one at that point. As such I challenged a teenaged female acquaintance of mine who had already played at regional if not national level to a match. I couldn’t beat her, but once I got her gauge managed to take one game to a tie-break. Which makes me wonder in retrospect how I might have fared had I taken the same route as Ms. Richards? To put that in context: a few years later I joined a local club a few years later and my form and fitness improved as a result. But as a male player, I still less chance of being picked for the club’s league team than flying to the moon.

In the 70’s and 80’s, those of us in this parish were privileged to have what were regarded as three of the greatest middle-distance runners of all time in Messrs. Coe, Cram and Ovett. However, they competed in an era when the sport was still officially amateur, and thus potential rivals from much poorer parts of the world had no funding or incentive to challenge. But once the sport went professional not long afterwards, hardly surprisingly athletes from third world countries in central Africa and elsewhere started coming out of the woodwork and cashing in accordingly – to the point where they now completely dominate. As such, our fastest current middle-distance specialist (who ironically has just bettered the PB’s of said legendary trio) probably has as much chance of winning an Olympic gold medal as I had making my badminton club’s league team.

The point I am trying to make from the above examples is that once the goalposts are moved, then in sporting terms it can lead to a “cuckoo in the nest” syndrome. In terms of transsexualism I would say that is particularly prevalent, as nowadays not only are GRS procedures far more commonplace, but many parts of the world are now also comparatively more tolerant of transpersons than before – even those who have not gone “all the way”. Another sign of the times is that many women now compete in sports such as football and rugby (even at a professional level in some cases) that were previously exclusively a male preserve, and it seems that some younger transsexuals want a bite at that cherry too.

For what it’s worth: even if I were a sportingly-gifted transgender woman in my physical prime, I would not be interested in participating at a professional sporting level with the bio variety.* For one thing, you can be assured that any plans to merge seamlessly into society as a female will go completely down the toilet. Plus I really do not think it is fair on genetic women anyway. But perhaps as a result of being more high-profile now (not to mention more lucrative!), it seems many disagree.

So does that mean it should be accepted that trans women compete against those of the genetic variety? Presumably due at least in part to the easy availability of processed food and fitness clubs these days, the latter are physically bigger and stronger than their forebears (in my youth I was considered to be of average male height, but these days am probably now more-akin to average female height!). Yet despite that, it wouldn’t surprise me if they still lost out in an arm-wrestling contest to a transsexual gobbling down hormones like a corn-fed chicken. 

Getting back on track: of course the debate also rages on over genetically intersexed athletes cleaning up in the female middle-distance events these days, with the sport’s authorities trying to impose a testosterone-limiting regime on those concerned in order to avoid making it a procession and thus a mockery. So bearing all the above in mind: should there now be a third “inbetweenie” gender classification in professional sport? If so, then perhaps the athlete formerly known as Bruce Jenner might be tempted to come out of retirement?

* On a “friendly” amateur level, as a transgender sportsperson I would derive far more pleasure from beating a man at badminton than a woman!

Source: Rue La La
Source: Rue La La

Arsenio Hall femulating in the 1988 film Coming to America.
Arsenio Hall femulating in the 1988 film Coming to America.