Tuesday, July 8, 2008


In the early stages of GIRLdrive, we were reminded of a group of people that feminism sometimes glosses over: the transgender community. On our recent trip to the East coast (during New York's Pride Week), we talked with a genderbending woman and a transman who is currently passing at the workplace. This is what they had to say:

Ryan (left) is 26, born and raised in Queens, works at a real estate office, has been training for the last 2 years to be a firefighter. She identifies as genderqueer, and changed her name to Ryan earlier this year because she "never felt comfortable with [her] given name."
"Sometimes I feel more identified as female, and other times I feel more identified as male, depending on my situation. But then I start to think, 'It's based on the situations I'm in only because I'm thinking in terms of the definitions I've been taught.' I'm assigning language to behavior, but it seems kind of unnatural to me...I feel like the world is really in a struggle of borders, which have become the metaphor of my life. There's a struggle to cross borders and to keep things out. Confronting this will be important for feminism, I think, but more generally for just figuring out how to co-exist in the world."

Nathan is 22, lives and grew up in Philly, quit college last year, works for a pharmaceutical software company.
"I don't think that my decision to transition [into a man] makes me any less of a feminist, because the reason I transitioned is unrelated. My understanding of feminism is for both sexes to be equal--in ability, capacity, rights, everything. I can't say that switching really takes away from that. And I feel like I can make a difference from the inside...because now I am thought of as a man with other men. I don't pull out a whiteboard and write, 'Here's how not to objectify your wife.' But I do express feminist ideals covertly and I think it helps when guys hear it coming from guys."

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