Can we all please stop sensationalizing transgender people…specifically, trans women? Phrases like, “used to be a man” are so overly simplistic and reinforce the notion that trans women are lying or being disingenuous. How about, “The Highest-Paid Female CEO in America is a Trans Woman….HOORAY!”
Your desire to sell magazines does not trump the safety and advocacy that trans women so desparately deserve. While this is a wonderful circumstance, it is hardly representative of the lives of most trans women in this country. When we attempt to celebrate a white, upper class, trans woman with unhealthy phrases like this, we will only find ourselves doing damage to the ones down here with the rest of the us. Or the ones we keep below us.
This is a complicated situation (I have literally just finished reading this article) because that is the way that Martine Rothblatt talks about herself.
“I can’t claim that what I have achieved is equivalent to what a woman has achieved. For the first half of my life, I was male,”
In some circles Martine would be seen as genderqueer rather than trans
She is a person for whom gender matters enough to have undergone radical surgery, but not enough to care whether she’s called he or she.
What she prefers to be called is “Martine.” To her four young grandchildren she is “Grand Martine.” [Her wife] Bina Aspen…calls herself…“Martine-sexual”. [Her children] call her “Dad.”
In 1995, just after her transition, Martine published The Apartheid of Sex, a slim manifesto that insisted on an overhaul of “dimorphic” (her word) gender categories. “There are five billion people in the world and five billion unique sexual identities,” she wrote. “Genitals are as irrelevant to one’s role in society as skin tone. Hence, the legal division of people into males and females is as wrong as the legal division of people into black and white races.” Instead, she suggested, people might better express their gender and sexual identities on a spectrum, perhaps in terms of color: Green might be “an equally aggressive/nurturing person who does not try to appear sexy” (lime green someone a little less aggressive), and purple someone gentle, nourishing, and erotic in equal measure.
I am well aware that the scarcity of trans representation in all forms of media & positions of power means that people look to any prominent trans person/story as representative of ALL trans people, so I can see how this language could hurt people who don’t identify with it. But in this case it is very clearly appropriate for THIS trans person. I don’t want there to be only one way to be trans - even if some of the ways are at odds with each other, even if it makes things more complicated. Suppressing certain trans narratives because they aren’t neat or easy doesn’t help anyone.
I don’t know what Martine Rothblatt’s thoughts are on all the language in this article & certainly there are sentences that I cringed at but she is a fascinating person who I had never heard of before today & who is well worth reading about. She is a transhumanist who started a pharmaceutical company to save the life of her daughter, who built a robot so that her wife would live forever and who started her own religion based on the ideas of God as technology and love as essential. Martine has a very different narrative to other prominent trans people of the moment & I think this headline expresses that.
Bolded for truth.