Frank Leaps Transgender Lobbyists in Single Bound
September 1, 2009
Trans and Stealth
September 2, 2009

Privileged and Pretty Equals Success

This morning I received an email talking about a website called “The Pink Butterfly Network“. It claims to be a knockoff of Lynn Conway’s Transsexual Women’s Successes, pointing to transsexual women who should inspire us.

I like Lynn Conway, and her Transsexual Women’s Successes page has become more than just pretty faces. But this knockoff site and others like it bother me. A success to who? What qualifies as a success? Someone that is feminine? Someone that is pretty? To me, this list plays to the worst face of the trans-community. It’s reminds me of this:

It’s every ugly thing that radical feminists say about us. Successful=feminine, Successful=thin, Successful=attractive. How misogynistic and shallow is that?

Success stories in my book are Ethan St. Pierre, Merissa Richmond, Monica Roberts, Diego Sanchez, Meghan Stabler, Katrina Rose, Vanessa Edwards Foster, Allyson Robinson, Earline Budd, and Robyn Walters.  Not all of them are pretty, young, or feminine. They all have one thing in common… success.

Oh and I left one off the list… me. I am a successful transwoman. And I don’t need a website full of privileged white transwomen adorned with pink butterflies and glitter to know that.

  • Heathercam

    I can’t disagree with you. I do wonder though if this is really as much about our society’s (maybe even humanity’s) obsession with the shiny and superficial. Young & “attractive” and the confidence that comes from everyone fawning over you will always be celebrated by the shallow. It takes something extra to see beyond the surface. That may be why so many people only think in bigoted stereotypes of race, gender, religion etc. I don’t believe that they are too dumb to see beyond, but I worry that they are so satisfied with their tidy prejudices that they never spend the effort to discover the real human beyond their inaccurate & dehumanizing labels.
    Sorry for taking it meta. I tend to see things fractally.
    I agree that the Pink Butterfly Network is at best, misguided & sending the wrong message. (Into a culture full of such messages)

  • Anonymous

    @Lisa and I’m sure that there’s enough supporters of hyper- femininity out there to keep the “men in dresses” meme alive for another couple of centuries.

  • Anonymous

    @Lisa *shrugs* There’s more than a few people who will agree with you. IMO, femininity shouldn’t be anymore celebrated or disparaged anymore than masculinity.

  • Not gonna lie, it does bother me when femininity gets disparaged to make a point.

  • Anonymous

    @sugarfreejazz Because “men in dresses” transsexuals should not exist, right? *whew, thank god I’m not one of THOSE people*

  • Anonymous

    @Sugarfreejazz you’re ok with feeling better about yourself by imagining you can be a barbie princess? Be my guest, but I don’t think that’s something I can or will support.

  • Sugarfreejazz

    For trans women on the verge of coming out, who might be afraid of what comes after transition, “success stories” can provide valuable reassurance. It comforted me to know that not all trans women look like men in dresses and that one can have transition *and* a successful career.

    • Anonymous

      Because “men in dresses” transsexuals should not exist, right? *whew, thank god I’m not one of THOSE people*

  • Geotrans89

    i checked the list of names… I hadn’t known any of these people and I’m glad I do now. But I do think that this list is exactly different from Connway’s in that it really only emphasizes these people’s ‘accomplishments’, with really very little about their personalities. I don’t know anything about what they accomplished besides social feats.

  • Emery Walters

    I know all about that, having been raised female. And neither rich nor pretty.

    • Marti Abernathey

      Emery, it’s a very tight group, ain’t it? White, trans, pretty, wealthy, privileged. Very tight indeed.

  • Emery Walters

    I know all about that, having been raised female. And neither rich nor pretty.

    • Marti Abernathey

      Emery, it’s a very tight group, ain’t it? White, trans, pretty, wealthy, privileged. Very tight indeed.

  • Alyson

    Marti: I feel the same way. Life isn’t a beauty pageant. The promotion of successful transsexuals is a slap in the face to those in the trans community who have struggled just as hard and yet remain unemployed, underemployed, destitute. I guess the trans community is a microcosm and we have our class differences like the rest of the world.

  • Alyson

    Marti: I feel the same way. Life isn’t a beauty pageant. The promotion of successful transsexuals is a slap in the face to those in the trans community who have struggled just as hard and yet remain unemployed, underemployed, destitute. I guess the trans community is a microcosm and we have our class differences like the rest of the world.

  • Marti Abernathey

    Sure 😀 I’m so not a pink butterfly and glitter kinda girl.

  • Marti Abernathey

    Sure 😀 I’m so not a pink butterfly and glitter kinda girl.

  • Well, if you’re not using those pink butterflies and glitter… could I have them? 😉

  • Well, if you’re not using those pink butterflies and glitter… could I have them? 😉