Transparency and Dignity: The Struggles of the Intimate Relations Specific to Trans*folk

Falling in Love with Chris and Greg serves as an excellent aid to close the semester in both tone and content.  A relatively short series of events, chronicled awkwardly but striving for self-awareness—it is almost a farcical mirror of gender studies itself.  More importantly, I find that the series’s focus on the relationship between a cisgendered man and a transman confines the plotlines of most episodes, and they wouldn’t be the same any other way.  The conversations that the characters have, contingent on Chris’s trans* identity (Episode 2, “Road Trip TV Special!”’s conversations about marital loopholes and reproductive opportunities) highlight the differences between trans*folk and people of other queer identities, and the discomfort that can cloud the personal identity and integrity of the trans* person.

In focusing on issues that highlight the corporeal challenges that trans* individuals face in their growing relationships with others, I found a few rather opinionated but well-meant articles about taking the T out of the LGBT acronym for the better of all queer-identified folk (one here: http://thenewgay.net/2011/02/trans-rights-idealism-vs-realism.html), but they did not seem to get at the core of what specifically creates bodily conflict inherent in that seems to address these issues candidly was OUT Magazine’s article devoted to trans*men and their problems with relating to people who tend to objectify and misunderstand their embodiment.  The first subject of the article, Hunter, laments, “After we have sex a lot of guys are like, ‘I really like your setup.’ They’re trying to be complimentary, but either way they lose. On the one hand, I want them to be OK with my equipment, but on the other hand, I don’t want them to be — because I’m not OK with it” (OUT 1).  The article points to bodily integrity as intrinsic in a trans* individual’s life, and demonstrates via first-person narrative that this particular pursuit is misunderstood by cisgendered individuals of any sexual orientation.  Even the article, though, iterates “the Trans 101 discussion” (OUT 1) to its readers, though—the exact patronizing about which the aforementioned Hunter has mixed feelings.  The author explains,

“[…] these guys aren’t really women. They were born female, yes, but they now live their lives as men. FTMs (female-to-male transsexuals). Tranny boys. Trans men. But also gay men, just like any gay men — yet with one small difference (no, not that difference — I’m referring to their second X chromosome in place of the Y that determines an infant’s sex at birth to be male)” (OUT 1).

Gay publication (apparently not quite trans* enough to give a less ‘recap’-like explanation for its article’s subjects) OUT Magazine’s focus on the specific trials of intimate relations for trans* individuals reflects the dilemma for the character Chris of the Falling in Love… series.  His anatomy is scrutinized multiple times in the first, second, fourth, and fifth installments by his partner, Greg, who outwardly “others” his partner on the basis of his genitals, and, in the fourth installment, a bit on his gender presentation.  The fact that their intimate relationship remains uncompromised—with the exceptions, of course, being their episodic follies and pursuits of understanding—is a humorous tribute to the trans*man’s struggle for bodily integrity.

OUT article:
http://www.out.com/entertainment/2008/03/16/trans-fags

          – Marie Kosakowski

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