Janet Mock on Late Transitioners

(a stray observation from December 2016)

Janet Mock's autobiography Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, & So Much More is an poignant example of an HSTS telling her story while adhering strictly to the 2014 mainstream-trans-identity-politics party line about how all this works ("gender identity", sex "assigned at birth", &c.). I found myself wondering: does she ... not know the secret??

(Or, you know, the story that makes so much more sense than "gender identity" as a first approximation, even if the underlying reality is going to be more complicated than that.)

Then we get this:

She introduced herself as Genie [...] She told me she'd undergone GRS five days before me and was accompanied by her girlfriend [...] She was in her mid-forties [...] Before transitioning, Genie worked as an engineer, was married for nearly twenty years, and had a teenage son. [...] Genie met new friends in trans support groups in Sydney, which was where she met her girlfriend, another trans woman. [...] I noticed that Genie made it a point several times to marvel at my appearance and the fact that I was able to transition early. I distinctly remember her telling me over spicy tom yum soup that I had a lot to be grateful for because I was a "freaking babe." [...] Genie's persistent reference to my appearance reflects many people's romanticized notions about trans women who transition at a young age. I've read articles by trans women who transitioned in their thirties and forties, who look at trans girls and women who can blend as cis with such longing, as if our ability to "pass" negates their experiences because they are more often perceived to be trans. The misconception of equating ease of life with "passing" must be dismantled in our culture. The work begins by each of us recognizing that cis people are not more valuable or legitimate and that trans people who blend as cis are not more valuable or legitimate. We must recognize, discuss, and dismantle this hierarchy that polices bodies and values certain ones over others.

So the key observations have been made, even if neither the reader nor the author has been equipped with the appropriate theoretical framework to make sense of them.

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