You're Next (Part 2)

I worked for a Fortune 100 global corporation, where a member of the local transgender club also worked. When she decided to make ‘the transition,' she contacted Human Resources, and I’m happy to say they were extremely cooperative. At the designated time, they called a meeting of her co-workers, announced her intention, and explained to them that, beginning on June 1st, ‘he’ would be ‘she’ and the attitudes of the staff should adjust accordingly. The transition went smoothly, and once she had her surgery she was regarded as a female member of the staff.

But what happens if I go to HR and tell them I'm neither, that some days I'm George and some days I'm Bobbi and most days I'm a bit of each? Can I wear a dress to work tomorrow, and a tie and jacket the day after that? Can I go home at lunch and ditch the pantyhose and heels for a pair of Levis and hiking boots? No way. (Belle Meade’s High-heel Neil got away with it, but then the wealthy can set their own standards.)

Corporate America has budged only slightly. They still subscribe to the male/female binary system. You must be one or the other; you can change from one to the other, but the dual classification system remains intact.

When I went to work for another major corporation with a military contract, I included my other identity on the application, knowing that I would need a security clearance and not wishing to hide anything. When I was told I got the job I was surprised and delighted and asked the HR officer about it.

“You’re not hiding anything,” she said. “That’s all the FBI cares about.” But then she smiled and said “So, who’s coming to work?”

“Pardon?” I asked.

“George or Bobbi?” she inquired.

I shrugged.

She shook her head. “The security people would have a problem if George showed up one day and Bobbi the next.”

I sighed. Considering (and sympathizing with) the women who need more time to get ready in the morning (especially since starting time was 7:00 a.m.), I chose George.

Likewise, some transgender people feel they have to choose. Many regard the crossdresser as a closet transsexual, someone who just isn’t ‘there' yet. The transsexual, on the other hand, has become the hero (heroine?) of the transgender movement. To declare oneself TS is the acceptable thing to do. Anything less is poo-pooed.

I have no quarrel with my transsexual brothers and sisters who feel they must align their physicality with their psychology. And I support and encourage the changes necessary to make that transition easier. But there is an undercurrent that I find disturbing. It’s the need to have everyone else “join the club.”

For those who have made the transition, another person making that choice adds greater validity to their own decision. It confirms the binary system. And it confirms the correctness of their own choice.

But once the choice is made, are the post-op TS's always satisfied? Thousands have made the transition, but we have no reliable follow-up studies assessing the extent to which they are or are not happy with their decision.

The names and accompanying data are there, in the medical records of those who have had “the surgery,” but the medical profession is not about to support follow-up studies of the post-op TS and the HIPPA laws would certainly present a problem for researchers. But what if a significant number believe they made the wrong decision? What if they are unhappy, dissatisfied, or discontented with their new lives? That would mean that the medical profession made a tragic mistake.

Perhaps even more discouraging is that there's no source of data for the crossdressing population. We don't even know the numbers, though estimates range from 1% to 40% of the male population. The only source we have is from the psychological/psychiatric community, and even then it's a skewed data set, consisting of only the ‘reported' cases. My own suspicion is that there are far more crossdressers in the closet who never seek psychological ‘help.’

So what we're left with is the traditional binary system that represses variance in gender expression and forces the majority of the TG population into the classic either/or conflict. Even the transgender community offers only two doors— the lady or the tiger. And so much for diversity.





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