The other day I pointed out Lynn Conway's website and photo to a friend for some reason. At first he thought she was cisgendered, and then he said something like, "She doesn't look trans." So I clicked on her Successful Transitions site, to kind of point out that she's not the only one, by a long shot. He thought just about everyone on the page looked like she was trans, and said, "Most of them would have a hard time finding someone who would put up with that."
It's things like this that make me wish I were a lesbian. Women just don't seem to have that obsession with the physical bodies of their lovers – the personality, the inner beauty, seems more important than the physical. I know it's true for me. I sometimes feel quite attracted to guys who are not very physically attractive, because I like their personhood – their passion, their intellect, their generosity, humor, whatever. Characteristics other than physical beauty can be very sexy.
But apparently not to men. My friend is educated, liberal, accepting of gays, lesbians, and trans people. Yet his abhorrence of the idea of a man finding a woman like me attractive purely dripped from his words. And despite their obvious femininity, they all seemed like men to him. Any guy readers out there, does this resonate with you?
Many of these are beautiful women, with successful, interesting lives. Why should a man have to "put up with it" at all? Why can't men just see us for who we are? Why not celebrate it? Why this focus on birth gender?
What does it say about our culture, that the bodies of women are considered of so much more importance than their persons?
As Sojourner Truth might say, "And ain't I a woman?"