Tuesday, April 1, 2014

how NOT to bea* an ally

For those of you who enjoyed my first OkCupid adventure, here's a real doozy.

The following is a direct transcript I had with another OkCupid user. This was through my profile in which I am officially identified as a straight female (due to a lack of other options), although I explain my actual identity at the top of my profile. The person with whom I spoke is a 28-year old straight man from Chicago. Read for yourself what trans*pired:

OKCUPID USER: 

You are beautiful!
Weird question, do you have boobs?
If that is an inappropriate question... April Fools!

BEA:
It is an inappropriate question, I don't remember ever giving you license to know the intimate details of my body.

OKCUPID USER:
I was just april foolin you!

BEA:
That is not funny. Trans people face a lot of systematic issues in their governments, societies, churches, medical systems, educational systems, families, communities, and so forth. To then hope to find a romantic match on an online dating site--which does not include categories that describe us, might I add--and instead encounter ignorant, privileged people who think they can--even in jest--police our bodies further is, for me, unacceptable. Kindly check yourself.

OKCUPID USER:
I understand how you feel as I too am april fooled constantly... and not even always in april. I am considered a podophiliac and I am constantly oppressed by people who do not understand why I am sexually attracted to only that specific part and that is how I gauge my arousal level. It is unfair to us both. Keep fighting the good fight!

BEA:
I hardly find that a fair comparison, considering that governments and institutions universally use gender as one of the principal pieces of information about a person, complicating life immeasurably for those of us who do not fit neatly into one of two boxes.

I am sorry that you have also encountered oppression and do not wish to belittle it in any way, but please do not turn around and enact similar forms of violence on other populations.

It seems ironic that I must "fight the good fight" against the person wishing me to do so, but such is OkCupid.

OKCUPID USER:
are you april foolin me

BEA:
No.

OKCUPID USER:
wait are you a boy


At which point I blocked him.

What our hard-headed friend failed to realize is that some trans* people go through physical transformations by medical means such hormones and surgeries or non-medical means such as shaving, dressing differently, binding, stuffing, etc., and some trans* people do not do anything.  All are viable options.

Usually, publicly coming out as trans* or even a private process of accepting it and going through any degree of trans*formation is a difficult and isolating one.  While in terms of sheer percentages trans* people are relatively uncommon, it by no means offers up their experiences for other people's inspection without consent.  I am obviously quite open about my experiences on this blog, but it definitely rubs me the wrong way for a stranger to ask me a question about my possible transformations in an abrasive way, hoping to be attracted to more of my body than just my face.  If he had posited the question as honest wonderment about a topic with which he is clearly not familiar in order to educate himself, I would have been more prone to answer the inquiry.  But as he did not, nor did I.

My OkCupid profile is becoming less of an opportunity for romantic involvement than it is an educational tool for ignorant straight people.

At least I don't have to waste my date money on the latter.

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