Monday, January 26, 2009

TransGriot Panel Discussion Series Input

Back in May 2007 I wrote a newspaper column entitled Genetic Women and Transwomen-Can We Be Friends? that generated an interesting and thought provoking discussion on the issue of friendship between transsistahs and our biosistahs that I had to continue on this blog.

I and the panelists had so much fun doing it, I'm thinking about initiating on TransGriot a regular feature in which I gather a panel of transwomen and our biosisters together on a monthly basis to discuss various issues.

Sometimes they will be predominately bloggers, sometimes not. Sometimes it may be a discussion that's WOC only so that we can talk about some issues unique to the community, sometimes it will be a broad cross section of panelists across our diverse rainbow of humanity.

It's part of my New Year's resolution to not only open this blog up to other voices, but continue to break down any potential barriers between us and our biosisters that hinder communication and allow us to build mutually beneficial friendships with each other.

This is where you TransGriot readers come in. When I begin this ongoing series of panel discussions, what topics would you like to see discussed by my esteemed panelists?


Stacy Hackenberg said...

Well, the issue my transman friend is facing is having to deal with a parent who is less than supportive. She is fighting the idea of calling him by his chosen name and is generally just fighting their entire idea of his transition tooth and nail. So, my question would be "How do you deal with family or fiends who can't accept your transition?"

Monica Roberts said...

TB Texan,
That's a good one that we could go in multiple directions on.

Gina said...

What a wonderful idea! I love trans/cis women interaction. Topics... hmmm,
1) how do you define/describe your sense of womanhood;
2) body issues;
3) how to be mutually supportive rather than jealous/competitive;
4) what things nourish/threaten us;
5) dealing with psychologic/physical violence;
6) a discussion of objectification;
7) allowing men to define us.

yadda yadda. Looking forward to reading it!

Sonora Sage said...

I don't have any topic suggestions, but I just wanted to say I love the word "biosisters". That's a label I could almost feel comfortable with. :-)

Tera said...

I love the suggestions so far.

Maybe a discussion about trans* ness and disability, and how the experiences are alike and different (and how they interact, in the case of trans women and men with disabilities)? Or transphobia in the disability community and ableism in the trans* community?

shiva has written something about this here, and as a disabled woman, I relate strongly to some things trans men and women say, though I am cis.

Gina said...

"biosisters" Agreed Sonora, although, we are 'biologoical' as well, aren't we? But a good term nonetheless. We could call such a forum "cis-ters" or maybe "TNC-TLC (trans 'n cis tender lovin' care" or, "Trannies & Cissies" (um... maybe NOT.) Although I'm not a fan of the 't' word.

I like the disability topic. Discussing related issues of self-esteem, feeling like damaged goods...

It might also be interesting to discuss how comfortable people in both groups are with their own individual version of womanhood. Both how they 'perform' it (sorry, a Judith Butler term) and how the world interacts with them in that role? How would each like to change their own private sense of 'woman'? What trans/cis women envy/resent about members of the other group?

Bad hair days said...

> "How do you deal with family or fiends who can't accept your transition?"

Parents have to go through the same phases, transpersons themselve go through, and denial is one of it. Then shame and so on. But where transpersons often take a lot of time to work themselfs through this issues, parents are often confronted with it all of a sudden.

When the denial phase breaks down a bit, a copy of the book "True selves" could help her?

My mother was in denial until I finaly confronting her with my social transition. And told her that one of my greatest fears in the process was to loose her (love).

Go Go Jo Jo said...

I really like the disability topic. also class, i was part of a very interesting discussion of how one's income/class status effected the ability to transition. plus several of my friends (transmen) have had what seems like as many problems being able to afford certain kinds of transitioning procedures (lengthy therapy process to get access to hormones, not really able to consider surgery due to prohibitive cost).

also beauty standards and femininity. this is something that interest me greatly because i really only started exploring my femme side when i went to college. and while ultimately i still like to dress up on occasion and do dress rather feminine for my job--as my mother, sisters, and most other women in my life can tell you--for the most part i do a real crappy version of "girly." point being what defines us as women? is it a dress code, a code of conduct, what defines us as "good" women? how do we respect each other even when our opinions on these issues differ?

Flrarginergarivb said...

Spouses, spouses, spouses, spouses.

There is virtually no support out there for spouses who want to actually stay in a relationship with transpeople. My wife and I went through some really hard times, and the only thing she found when she went looking for help, even on the net, was anger, bile, and pain.

We aren't perfect now, but she's learned a bit.

Gina said...

While I totally get partners, family and friends transition too when someone is trans, this still seems to be an issue that's more specifically about transpeople (and those close to them) and not women in general. I guess, for myself, I'm more interested in what cis and trans women can learn and share with each other about our unique experiences as women. Maybe that's a function of where each of us is in the transitioning process?

VĂ©ro B said...


This is only for people who are in Second Life, but there is a weekly trans partner support group run through the Transgender Resource Center. I agree that there is little support for spouses and partners. I'm lucky that mine managed to work things out and stay with me.

Monica Roberts said...

Those are all wonderful suggestions for discussion topics, so keep 'em coming

Gina said...

How about this oldie but goodie - How much of gender is socially proscribed and how much is innate? Is gender (identity & role) a purely social creation or is there a predominantly biological basis? Individuals could discuss their own personal experiences with that one. This is a subject that intimately both intimately affects trans & cis women and has been used to oppress them.

Or... race & gender. How do individuals interact with their own personal sense of each and within society - the two of the most core defining elements in a person (perhaps along with able/disable-bodied). How does each compare in terms of group identification?