The time has come again to talk about terminology.
The biggie is the ongoing furore caused by those who want to make distinctions between various sub-classes of the transgendered community, partly, I fear, because they want to assert a pecking order in a range which includes cross-dressers, pre-ops, post-ops, androgynes and drag adopted for various reasons — some commercial, some for personal and temporary amusement without an ongoing commitment to gender change, temporary or permanent.
For many years I thought of myself as a transvestite and acted accordingly but the time came when I admitted to myself, and the world, that I was transgendered. For years I imagined the correct term was transsexual, because I accepted the term in general use, rather than thinking through the assumptions created by the inevitable parallel with the words homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual and asexual.
In other words, that ‘transsexual’ had something to do with sexuality and the selection of sexual partners. Like many who want the name to reflect the truth, I now prefer ‘transgender’.
But hey, sexuality, like politics and religion, is a moveable feast. There are those who change their sexuality, with or without also changing their gender role.
And changes are not always immutable. People go back and forth across these so-called borders, sometimes more than once.
Let’s recognise that people change their views and even their innermost feelings. The Gender Centre exists to help anyone with gender issues. Clients are expected to treat each other with respect and civility as equals, however different their stories they may be in detail.
info: Visit www.gendercentre.org.au or call 02 9569 2366.
By KATHERINE CUMMINGS