Eric’s unhealthy obsession with trans kids
February 7, 2014
Full SFGN Interview: ‘I am not a bigot’ Says Gender Identity Watch’s Cathy Brennan
February 12, 2014

Putin in drag: what transmisogyny looks like?

I’m sure many of you have seen the various protest images of Vladimir Putin’s image colored as if he’s wearing false eyelashes and makeup. The images are used to protest against anti-queer oppression in Russia.


Do you think the image is problematic? Some feel the image uses trans expression to shame and mock Puttin, thereby degrading the trans experience.


Here’s what some of you have to say about this on the TransAdvocate FaceBook page:

This is both trans misogyny and misogyny…because it is making a joke out of femininity. My being a woman and expressing myself as such should not be automatically labelled “degrading” or “weak”. Men are not inherently better than women.The world needs to grow up and realize the harmful things behind what they do…especially because they don’t see it.

Why is it shameful for him to look like a woman?

It does seem a bit counter-intuitive, but I’ve gotten used to seeing trans issues and rights thrown under the bus in favor of the more-popular gay and lesbian agenda.

Yeah, let’s cut that shit out. Putin is enough of a joke on his own.

First of all, not all women wear make-up. Also, the “make-up application” used is more clownish, not exactly feminine. I don’t think the point is to make him look like a woman but points more to the over over exaggerated theatrical display used by some drag queens. I think it is a bit insulting to trans women to assume they identify with such a false representation of what they look like or want to look like.

Insulting him in a way that he would be really insulted, fair game!

Oversensitive people drive me insane.

The makeup style definitely looks “drag”. I don’t really find it to be offensive.

What are your thoughts?

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Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites and, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.
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  • david john paul

    Yes. Men wearing makeup is a joke. End of story. You’re all a bunch of psychos. Get therapy. Get real.

  • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

    No, since it’s very obviously a pastiche of Warhol, specifically this picture of Marilyn

  • tensacross

    oh for god’s sake. he looks fabulous! lol. you people are nuts.

  • Kyle

    Being a cisgendered, straight white guy i dont have a whole lot of pull here but for what its worth…Putin is the figurehead for a big issue that doesnt necessarily on paper include the BTQ, and consequently attracts a lot of attention to the LG part of the discussion–naturally this should cause a disturbance on its own because all the straight people in control who decide what everyone else is fed via media influence will then dish out the more popular and socially acceptable gays and lesbians. Add into this situation the misuse of some recognizable drag make up to make an even bigger joke out of someone in Putin’s position and obviously there will be some people marginalized as a result. If you ask me though, claiming that the attire is “clearly drag” or “feminine” or even homosexual in any way is being very presumptuous about the artists’ intentions or their influences; saying that make up on a man, no matter the style, is in some way weakening in the public eye would always be true in the modern patriarchal society we live in because if a man is identified as wearing make up or the like (even in a professional context) he is bound to be ridiculed for it on some level. My point is that if you want to say it looks gay or drag or feminine doesnt really matter because you are judging a piece of art designed to put a face on a protest or movement which is as a rule against the oppression of gays and lesbians, not transexuals or queers or the like. Again, to avoid any confusion in my conclusion there, I stated above that this is the IMAGE fed to us and it is thus the IMAGE everyone sees, so when somebody tries to speak up about it all we can see is the IMAGE of gay-bashing Putin…not equally media-represented alongside trans-hating Putin.

  • Trystan Marl Greist

    I have always assumed that the make-up is meant to suggest gay drag, thereby inferring that Putin is a closet case. Trans women look feminine naturally and gracefully. The Putin images are clownish and over-the-top, like drag imagery. We should really get into a discussion about drag and transphobia…

  • Wangchuck

    Here’s a riddle for you gents/ladies…If you are the gender you are because of your brain, and gender is a social construct, then why spend thousands of dollars on breast implants, hormones, wigs, etc. if you already ARE a woman by virtue of birth?

    why dress yourself in gender stereotypes if you’re already a woman, huh?

    • Misty Scott

      “Gender purely as a social construct” is more a TERF ideology. We fall more all over the map. I know that while some differences are social constructs, there are innate differences as well through experience…experience you obviously have never had.

      Many cis women spend thousands on makeup and breast implants. They don’t do that to “become women” and neither do we. Cis women who have a hormonal imbalance take hormones, just as our hormones aren’t the correct balance for our gender. Your logic is flawed and you’re points are way off the mark.

      I’m sure my response will be lost on you, but I don’t suffer fools lightly, and you sure sound like a fool to me.

      • Wangchuck

        1.) I’m a man, not a TERF or SMURF or whatever any of these acronyms are; I just love roasting society’s sacred cows on an open flame until medium-well done;

        2.) Your emotionally based subjective experience doesn’t suddenly make 2+2=5;

        3.) Just because human neurological phenotypes fall all over the map, doesn’t mean all are equally desirable or valuable. In other words: Some humans are superior to others.

        “Many cis women spend thousands on makeup and breast implants. They don’t do that to “become women” and neither do we”

        Real Women are born with breasts, which is why it’s called ‘augmentation’. Men’s breasts are not naturally used in sexual displays of human courtship unless one considers the recent phenomena of female chest fetishism of men; Otherwise, you’re adding what’s considered a female sexual “plumage”, for lack of a better word, to your very male body and extremely masculine physique.

        “hormones aren’t the correct balance for our gender”

        This is the politically correct logic to solving this problem, but I don’t think you need gender hormones, but anti-schizoid drug therapy.

        “You sure sound like a fool to me.”

        Oh no, I insist that you can take from my diction and writing skill that I’m college educated, white, male, upper-class, and wealthy.

        Please, make whatever you will of that and compare it endlessly to your own miserable, suicidal thought-laden existence.

        • Kyle

          you are a sad little man with a Book under your arm and Privilege resting on your head, totally unaware of the Fire you light with your words. and by the way, translating the Human Experience with population genetics does not make you intelligent, it makes you ignorant of what it truly means to be a Human. we might be animals and on the cellular level very nearly no different from a sea squirt, but you can bet your ass as well as your Book that sea squirts cannot experience what those without your Privilege do and in many cases MUST. take your scientific evidence and shove it where Dawkins and other elitist brainiacs can help you dig it out, because everyone can be certain of one thing: the Book you wield was written with a Pen filled by history’s Victors with the Blood of the Fallen, and in that Book lies the Grand Design for a shovel with which to dig all that Shit backing you up out, but the Privilege granted you by such a Book does not require you to do anything about it.

          • Wangchuck

            Oh noes, he pointed out I privilege! I guess this means I’m going to shrivel like a shrinking violet, change my opinions completely and become ashamed of being superior to the inferiors all around me, right?

            right? *crickets*

          • Wangchuck

            P.S: The Fallen have fell for a reason.

  • translegalhistorian

    How is this any different than when the Advocate used to (or maybe what’s left of the publication still does; hard to pay attention given it hasn’t been relevant in over a decade) give out its ‘sissy of the year’ awards – which were done pretty much the same way (

    In case it isn’t clear, that’s a slam at this current batch of Advocate imitators (and the Advocate itself), rather than the TransAdvocate for pointing out what’s going on.

  • christian_transgender For someone who tacitly approves of violent LGBT bashing, ‘nuf said.

  • Lily Wolf Solomon

    I agree with Persephone. There are also lots of portrayals of Putin, not in drag, as streotypically gay, meant to call out his treatment of LGBTQ people. The point being, there’s nothing wrong with being gay or trans / feminine gender expression, but it’s the last thing Putin would want, so it’s sort of using his own shame against him.

    • Lexi

      It’s using the shame-consensus with which transfemininity is regarded against him, and therefore anyone who is transfeminine, as per usual.

    • But, ultimately, the point is to laugh at him. The point is “look at how funny that man looks in makeup”.

      How is possibly “using his own shame against him”? Putin isn’t looking at these images and reflecting on them, but plenty of LGBT folks are looking at them and the message they send that wearing feminine makeup has an underlying element of humiliation if the person’s presentation isn’t sufficiently feminine.

      • Lily Wolf Solomon

        Hmm, I guess I just didn’t see him as funny looking in makeup, so if that was the point, it escaped me. But I suppose it may even inadvertently send that kind of message to people who still have some belief that being feminized — especially when “the person’s presentation isn’t sufficiently feminine” — is humiliating. These images may send all sorts of messages, to different people… and I’m really not sure what the overall effect is in this case.

  • velvetsteele

    let’s look at the whole picture. Clown make-up on a masculine face, doing what I feel is exposing some underlying aspirations of his!

  • Persephone Zielkie Hagen

    I personally see it less as an attempt to shame him by portraying him as a drag queen with the assumption that drag queens are somehow something to be ashamed of, but rather it seems more like an attempt to give him a slap in the face by depicting him as the stereotype of something he hates. I find it similar to the manner which some anti gay politicians have been depicted as gay. The attack seems (in my interpretation) to be less based on shaming transfolk (unlike things like the attacks on Anne Coulter and Catharine Harris by supposedly liberal individuals), and more on portraying him as something he has enmity towards.