Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Here's my dirty secret: I love soap operas. I do. I know, I know. What's a smart, funny, feminist girl like me doing hooked on soap operas? What can I say, grad school rotted my brain. And my favorite soap is All My Children. So, when I heard they were introducting a transgender character? Ha! Well, let's just say it's become appointment television.
I'm a little concerned, of course, that the show is going to mess this up royally. But so far, it seems to be all right. It helps that they cast a wonderful actor, Jeffery Carlson, in the part. (Also? Check the photo. The man is yummy. And he wears fricking eyeliner on-screen. I had no chance. No chance at all.)
There are a few issues, I think. For one, he's falling in love with the show's sole lesbian character. Which is completely possible, because Eden Riegel? Also yummy. It does seem like a bit of a cop-out, though. Put the lesbian with the transgender guy, so we can have her with a guy who isn't really a guy but still has a penis. I don't know though. The story is still developing, so maybe they'll address these issues in a way that feels right, not forced. And there's not word yet if Zarf (horrible name for a character, but at least he's going to become Zoe, my absolute favorite name in the world) is going to have surgery or not. But it has the potential to be an interesting, edgy story, so I'm giving it a chance.
It does make me think, though. I have never, as far as I know, meet a transgender person. I have a friend who says she feels like she's supposed to be a man, but she's never made any moves in that direction. Which may still count, I don't know, but until she tells me she's claiming the label for herself, I don't feel comfortable assigning it to her. But still, I've been thinking lately -- I have absolutely zero problem with transgender people. Does that make me strange? Honestly, if I were dating someone and they told me they were transgender, I'm not sure it would bother me all that much. I'm sure there'd be issues. But would I dump them? For no other reason? That would be stupid. Beyond stupid, really. If I loved someone, I want them to be happy. If my boyfriend is desparately unhappy being a man, if he feels that he's really a woman, if he wants to dress as a woman, explore those feelings, why would I stand in his way? Why would I make it harder for her? It doesn't make any sense. And if that exploration lead her to believe surgery was the right option, well okay. First, its not my body, so I really have no say in what she does with it. But more importantly -- why would you want someone you love to be miserable just to conform to social expectations?
As far as sex goes? Well, I'm bi, so -- parts is parts, ya know? There would be issues with how other people reacted to us, how families reacted, but you're going to have those issues anyway. Well, maybe not those specific issues, but issues. No relationship is perfect and no family is perfect.
I realize this makes me sound hopelessly naive. And I probably am, but I'm also being sincere. I don't understand the transgender experience since I cannot imagine wanting to be anything other than a woman. I love it. I do, down to the very tippiest tip of my toes. I cannot imagine living with the knowledge that I was born wrong. I cannot imagine the amount of pain and confusion that must cause. But I can be empathetic. There's no reason for a person to have to live with that kind of pain, not when there are viable ways to avoid it. And there's no reason a person dealing with that pain should have to go without the same love and acceptance anyone else has. I truely cannot imagine rejecting someone I love because of the way they were born, because of a pain they have suffered. It's completely alien to me. Which means, yeah, I'm probably strange.