Terms, Labels and references

  • Creator
  • #33339

    Another member made me aware of Keystone Conference. It’s billed as: “the Eleventh Annual Keystone Conference, “A Celebration of Gender Diversity,” hosted by TransCentralPA in Pennsylvania’s capital city of Harrisburg!” It just happened in late March. I was curious about it, being from far enough away to not be able to go(Minnesota)and have been looking at its keynote speakers. I really would’ve enjoyed hearing from Christine Halquist. She’s in the energy field and that’s a field I have some interest in and will be studying soon alongside Interior Design. 

    The conference billed her as:

    Christine Hallquist is a transformative business executive, a leader in creating solutions to climate change, a developer of the electric grid of the future, the first transgender CEO in the United States to transition on the job and the first transgender major party gubernatorial candidate in the nation. Knowing she was different from her peers in parochial school and often bullied for being perceived as such, Christine learned to perfect the role of acting as a “man” which served her well for many years.”

    There was more, but what my query is about is how she was presented by Transgender people to transgender people. As a “transgender”. Not as a woman, but as a transgender. Is this where we are right now? Is our own movement trying to ignore our genders and only concentrating on what type of genders we are? I’m miffed about this. To me it’s like saying, “Look at Billy’s natural teeth aren’t they nice? vs. Look at Billy’s orthodontic teeth, aren’t they nice?” All in all teeth are teeth, gender is gender, Christine ran for office of Governor of Vermont. I understand the huge weight of her identity especially as the first transgender woman to run for it. Thing is, cis women aren’t declaring their cisgender descriptor when they run for public office. Like Hillary Clinton and so many before and after her cis women claim to be part of the women’s movement. Not cisgender or transgender women’s movement but simply women’s movement. Christine gets billed as being a part of that in the last line of her billing.

    My efforts have always been to keep up with the times. To live my life with dignity. Seems like a slurring action, but I suppose we do that to all minority groups, too, in America. I think it was Morgan Freeman who mentioned “I’m not black, I’m an American.” I agree with him within my own context. “I’m an American, enough said.” I’m curious what others think about being billed solely as “a transgender”. 

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    • #33357
    • #33356


      I appreciate your input. We can all use whatever labels, terms, in whatever ways we want. I don’t have to like it, of course, and I don’t with this bio. Increasingly in my own life having to place Trans in front of my gender is like saying I’m an artificial woman. I like saying I’m a woman and leaving it at that. Using trans or transgender as a noun is incorrect but has become a norm like saying one is gay, lesbian, bi or any other GSM label. Perhaps it really doesn’t matter to most but it did to me. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

      I didn’t try to be stealth either. Sometimes I wish I had. I thought, in 2015, that things would be fine to be out, honest and transitioning. It was for 6 months anyway. We do what we can.

      Did you enjoy the conference? I bet it was nice to have all of those vendors in one place! What were your take aways?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #33378
        Miss Cloé

        I was only responding to the speakers use of the descriptor trans. Personally I feel trans sells short the fact that my soul is female and with trans being a chemistry term I feel it falls short.

        The conference to me is about the attendees, not the vendors or speakers.  They’re there to serve us.  This years vendor area was not quite as full as last.  I was also dealing with some personal difficulties and had to practice a lot of self care so I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as last year.  T o me, the real value is in making new friendships and building the old ones.  Online connections are great, but nothing is equivalent to sitting down with some one over a drink and sharing experiences.  Oh how wonderful are the talks til the wee hours of the morning with people were a step away to give a hug, to see the laugh lines or the tears on their faces and know their hearts.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #33388

          I think it’s great you got to experience some in person sharing, Cloe! I agree it’s better than online. We had a Trans Summit here a couple years ago. It was more a grand political rally for us in our best art museum. It brought out my pride, was wonderful to see everyone and meet some people. I’m usually singled out, alone in groups of cis people so being in a group of trans people felt comforting to be anonymous.

    • #33355
      Miss Cloé

      In the context of a conferences for transgender people, I think it’s appropriate.  Know your audience as they say.  There were non-transgender speakers there and TBH if she needs to explain that connection then perhaps she has transcended into a world where she is simply a woman and needs to make it clear to the audience that she is also Transgender.  Regardless, a speaker wants to connect with the audience and that one was decidedly a trans majority.  I know, I was there.

      In fact she used 3 other descriptors before using that one, Transformative business executive, a leader in creating solutions to climate change, a developer of the electric grid of the future. Then when she does use it it’s to show she was the first.  First what?  Those original 3 did’t uniquely identify her, but simply painted a picture of who we were listening too and so did that fourth, first transgender CEO in the United States to transition on the job. That is unique and creates the bond with the audience.

      If she was addressing an association of CEO’s about the climate change, I seriously doubt she would use the transgender descriptor.  It’s not relevant at that point.  That is unless once again she is  there to specifically call attention to being tans in which case it makes perfect sense.

      At the outset of my transition journey I was introduced to a wise former ambassador to CDH who had transitioned.  I could tell she was reading me hard when I met her.  During a wonderful conversation she said something that confused me.  She said “you know, not very many people achieve being stealth”.  I had not even heard that term yet, so she briefly explained it.   I wasn’t consciously trying to achieve it, I was just trying to be me.  So here I am today.  I am Cloe Webb.  I am a woman and I’d like you to know I’m also transgender.  I hope that helps you understand something deeper about me.  If not and your’e interested, can I spend a few moments of our time together to help you understand?

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