World's First Transsexual?
So… this headline “World’s First Ever Transsexual” crossed my path today. Which goes on to tell us about Christie Jorgensen, who received the first SRS.
Now… I realize that ‘transsexual’ has a particular history as being particularly and specifically about SRS. But… I really hate the way that this headline (and it isn’t only this article) builds this white myth as history. Even the article puts on this important caveat:
Christine Jorgensen, a former GI in the US Army called George, underwent gender reassignment in Denmark in 1953 and was the first person to go public after the surgery.
So. Wait. Which is it? First person to get the surgery or the first to go public after? Who knows? Especially since the point of this myth isn’t to actually give us facts or history.
(if that were the point, there might be a better recognition that there have been SRSs in existence for a long time, even if not quite as significant. that people had been not only socially ‘transitioning’ – hate to have to use this word – but medically ‘transitioning’ for a really long time. except that ‘people’ in this case would be people of colour and, well, nothing they do matters because, well. *world’s* first transsexual! yay!)
I just read this stuff and go: what does this even mean? What does it even mean that they are calling her the first person to go public? What is this public? When I think about the people, past and present, who’ve lived their lives as they were, in their communities, recognized, valued, and loved. I just…
Yeah. White mythology.
(and, no, I’m really *not* trying to say that asog, for example, were transsexuals or transgender. not at all. the point of my musings here are to wonder about how this white need to act as if this gender stuff is brand new creates a myth that not only erases PoC histories but again frames it as being uniquely white, which in turn alienates and excludes PoC today, who might be inclined to locate themselves within this context. it also serves to emphasize the importance and necessity of the medical industrial complex controlling our lives. because… well, we never existed until science/medicine allowed us to exist, right?)
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