Not a Pretty Girl

Body photo body2.gifI would be remiss if I didn’t include my most successful diary ever as one of the chapters in my autobiography.  Presented here with some minor rewrites, this chapter comes from January of 2009.

The graphic to the left is named Body.  Some might consider it NSFW, but it’s just an assemblage of red pixels on a yellow background.

She arose silently from her bed and walked to the bathroom.  She stopped to stare at herself in the mirror.

Sh was old.  Sometimes she wondered how that had happen, but she had been aware that she was not aging all that gracefully for quite a few years.  Daily stress can do that to a person.

So can 44 years of being on testosterone.

Now, even 23 years later, the effects of that were still there in the face that looked back..  Nothing was going to undo that…except maybe thousands of dollars of facial reconstruction.  That was money she would never have.  So she made do with the rationalization that she hadn’t wanted to stop recognizing herself anyway.

And nothing was going to change the fact that she was 6’4″ tall.  Well, almost nothing.  In those 23 years,  gravity had taken its toll.  She was now 6’2″.

Friday’s child…..Born a little ugly

Friday’s child…. Good looks passed her by..oh

Friday’s child…..Makes something look like nothing

Friday’s child…..Am I..ya

Is life only about being eye candy for someone else?

In the newer version of the nursery rhyme, isn’t Friday’s child supposed to be loving and giving?  And isn’t that important at all?

There was a recent exchange in a diary about the rights of transfolk…or the lack of same…which included some very ugly words.  The only thing uglier which I saw at the time were the thoughts that the words were expressing.  While it might be easier to just try to blow it off as one individual who can be ignored, the sad fact is that he is not alone.  Therein lies the sadness.  This is the place from which the pain wells up.

A gay man expressed his love and support for transpeople…but.  There was a very large BUT attached.

He proceeded to relate a story about “a middle aged, hideous tranny.”  During the course of his ripping her apart (or as he called her, “him”), the following words spilled out as well.

I have known transgendered people who really were born with the wrong genitals…they looked it, spoke it, acted it and when their surgeries were complete, they at least looked like the genders they aspired to be.

Meaning:  They passed.

Deconstruction:  They were socially acceptable because of their appearance, irrespective of their value in any other way.

I can understand why many people are simply freaked out by seeing a 6 foot 4, 56 year old man with stringy, balding hair

Meaning:  It makes me uncomfortable to see tall women, large women, old women or balding women.

Personally I have some admiration for Lisa Leslie, who is 6’5″, and Queen Latifah, who is…what’s the word?…hulking.


No person can ever be a successful woman if she has thinning hair, like restaurateur Lidia Bastianich, let alone bald ala Sinead O’Connor or Persis Khambatta.  God forbid any woman ever lose her hair through taking chemo to treat cancer.


And why do they ever allow older women who are, shall we say, not exactly pretty out in public, like my biological mother or my academic mother, Emmy Noether.


Deconstruction:  It’s actually transwomen who I can tell are transwomen who make me uncomfortable.  The world should be about my comfort rather than about theirs.

A man in a dress making a lot of people around him feel uncomfrotable[sic]–just because HE thinks he’s woman–is not going to win rights for anyone. And, quite frankly, while I know many transgendered people who merely corrected a wrong nature inflicted on them have gone on to live relatively normal lives, big, hulking TRANNIES who don’t look like women and never will, are trying to latch themselves into the gay and lesbian fight for recognition and dragging us down, but because we believe in rights for everyone, we take your burden…but sometimes your battles are nonsense, and your not gender confused, but just fucking crazy and that won’t help anyone, including those who are truly biologically disposed to being the opposite sex and shame on you for that!

There isn’t much else that can be said to that.  At least there is nothing that will be understood by the person who said it.

Looksism can be a very hideous monster.  It is especially so when it comes up in reference to transwomen.  What words are ever going to penetrate the walls built by someone whose total valuation of people…make that women…comes down to how good they look.

For transwomen this can be an especially dangerous game, since if we look too good, pass as being “real women” too well, we are accused of trying to fool people about who we are…and at that stage, if our histories are ever discovered, we often becomes targets of retribution, often violent retribution.

It really is fairly simple as far as I am concerned.  I transitioned when I was 44.  I didn’t do so in order to become a movie starlet or a beauty queen or a even a hooker.  I transitioned to be a middle-aged ex-hippie college professor with a bit of wear and tear.

The fact is that when I transitioned I looked somewhat like my mother and a little bit like my father.  That’s the way it works for most people.  

Should whether or not I deserve equal rights and a modicum of respect really be dependent on your aesthetic appreciation…or lack thereof?  Is that, at long last, the measure of a woman?

As a gay man, I accept not everyone will accept me and my partner as a real couple….but even they will accept us more readily as a couple, than some of you who want to parade as the opposite sex….because your not! Your happiness lies on a psychologist’s couch, not at the end of a scalpel and a K-Mart dress!

Rant on.  Perhaps some folks will hear your words and realize just how wrong their own thinking is.  Maybe you will do more for our cause with your evil thoughts than all the good ones I will ever muster.



Not a pretty girl

nor an attractive woman

just a hope

of being

a handsome

old lady

I have been

resigned to this

for decades

But quality lies

in the heart

and the mind

not on the skin

Your proclamation

of love and support

for transfolk

rings as hollow

as hollow can be

Ugly lives down deep

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–January 16, 2009


    • Robyn on February 28, 2015 at 04:29

    …presentable each day. We probably all spend too much time doing that.

    But our rights should not be dependent on our appearance.

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