Translate this blog.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Are You a Sissy?

Are you a sissy? That is a very loaded question and an emotionally charged topic as well in the world of transgender identies and trans politics. It is an issue that sharply divides those who identify as transsexuals from the rest of the gender community and also can divide the rest of the transgender community from those who identify as sissies. I hope that this article will shed some light on this gender identity in a respectful manner. I believe that while I can't relate to these individuals from my own experience, there are people who identify as sissies and have the right to do so.

So what am I talking about here when I speak of sissies? I'm speaking of those people who usually identify as male, but enjoy dressing and appearing as little girls or in a hyperfeminine way that a woman would not appear. There is no way these individuals are going to pass in public, which is part of the piquancy. A google image search of "Sissy" turns up a lot of pictures of Sissy Spacek. She is an awesome actress.

 But pertaining to the topic at hand, the images retrieved are all closely related to female domination, humiliation and other D&S themes. Again, that's fine. I think however they express their sexuality and identity is not my business and everyone has the right to be who they are.

Two years ago, I met a pair of sissies at a transgender conference. They stood out in a convention of people whose identity is that of women with no qualifiers attached to that identity and who are doing everything they can do to blend in with society. In talking with them, I found them to be very nice people.  They told me they weren't really enjoying the conference because no one was being especially friendly or attempting to be inclusive in the activities that were going on in the hotel. I doubt that I will see them again at the conference I was attending.

But I couldn't relate to the experience of a sissy identity in the everyday world. I worry about how the public percieves the woman of transsexual experience and if the public sees me and those who identify as sissies as being one and the same. While there is an intersection on the axis of gender identity, just as there is an intersection in the mathmatical model of the X and Y axis, for me, sexuality is not an issue. For the sissy, sexuality is up front and integral to the sissy experience. It includes strong elements of being shamed and being degraded by others. It is an identity that is less than the genetic woman and definately less than a man.

I wonder if this is for most who identify as a sissy a developmental stage in forming a transsexual identity or is it a stable identity of its own? Some women of transsexual experience at some point experience some attraction to the fantasy of forced feminization, usually early on in their life when they are coming to terms with who they are. For them, this is about not being able to take responsibility for who they are and at a point when they feel ashamed of who they are. If it does occur, it is a transient event that fades to black and disappears. It goes away when the woman of transsexual experience knows that there is nothing wrong with her identity as a woman. As a result, feelings of shame and guilt have no place in her identity. Simply put, for the woman of transsexual experience who is comfortable with her identity, the old addage "You can't rape the willing" is true. She sees herself as no different than the woman who was assigned at birth as a female and is comfortable living her life in mainstream society. This is the basis for women (and men) of transsexual experience not viewing themselves as part of the transgender spectrum, but understanding themselves to be very different and not part of a spectrum of gender identities.

Just as sissies have the right to claim their identity, so do women of transsexual experience. We also have the right to claim our own identity as unique and not part of a spectrum. We have the right to our own uniqueness.

I'd be very interested in hearing the views of readers of this blog. I think this is a topic worthy of discussion and reading your comments.

16 comments:

  1. JinianVictoria@yahoo.comAugust 11, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    As a transgender woman I do have a dog in this fight. I was a sissy at one time, but it never quite made me, well me. As one who was a sissy I can honestly say that I never really felt accepted in the gender community..there was something that just made me feel isolated. Perhaps because I was neither *fish nor fowl* That being said i would argue that sissy are a stable platform of their own. The majority are quite happy to reveal and relish their feminine side to that extent i suspect. Just because one is a sissy (self identified or not) does not necessarily mean they are sexual as a sissy. What a sissy does or does not do sexually or otherwise is done only to their comfort level not others. Those that have a problem with sissys have exactly that...THEIR Problem not the sissy. Just because one is a sissy does not mean they are necessarily into B&D or even S&M. Many sissys choose to dress as female but that does not mean they desire or even want sex as a female. Being a sissy does not automatically put you on thegender continum to being a female. Their is a whole other mindset at work here. A sissy, in many cases is quite happy just being that, a sissy and has no desire to progress to the hormonal and gender surgery that is to many the obvious next step. Now in some cases, and I am one, sissy for me was just another step to my evolving (if you will) to a woman and there are admittedly a few of us who do but that does not mean all of us do. A sissy is as you put it *a stable platform*, inclusive of itself. Each of us can claim and do claim the point on the scale where we feel most comfortable. This does not mean denigrating other places on the scale. Each step we take and arrive at is seperate to itself and may or may not serve as a step to the next point. Sissys are no less than any other.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Last year I was at conference in which two people dressed like dolls, carried dolls, and were seen like they were 4 years old at most despite being at least in their 40. My reaction to them wasn't good then and probably will remain the same today.

    Clearly they were looking to be humiliated in public. As most transwomen are fighting for acceptance by their families, their co-workers,neighbors - and they are fighting to find self-respect, this public need to humiliate themselves (and those at the convention by default) simply was in direct opposition to the needs of the larger group. Had I been running the conference I would have ended their attendance because of the harm they were creating for others.

    If humiliation is their thing, so be it, but to use the group to shield them from the consequences of their actions is simply wrong. They were so obnoxious that they might even jeopardize the group's ability to return to the hotel. This is as wrong as can be. Sorry, but that is not the group's problem except to let them know they aren't welcome back again. People have a right to do their thing but not when it intentionally disrespect others and inflicts harm to them.

    The logic that "if I do something and others have a problem with it, then the problem is all theirs" fails by face value. Of course, that is the illogical logic one can expect from someone with a total disregard for others.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have never identified as a sissy but I remember being told as a child not to be a sissy or not to act sissy. The word sissy was also associated with being gay or being effiminate like I was. So I learned to be masculine enough to get by, not hyper masculine like some to do to hide their true identity, but just masculine enough to get by. I felt like a girl but I was being percieved as a sissy male.

    I don't see people who identify as sissies to be part of the transgender community but I think some people in the greater transgender community have a sissy side to them or enjoy wearing some of the sissy dresses etc. I know a couple of crossdresser who put on a good female presentation and go out and go to conferences etc. but behind closed doors they like to put on the sissy, frilly things. I don't know any transsexuals who are into that type clothing and perhaps fetish roleplay but I suppose it is possible that someone could identify as a female and still have such fetishes. As with the cds that I know being sissy would be a part of their private sexual or fetish life and not their day to life or identity.

    Some people when I was first coming out online would call me a sissy or say they wanted me to be a sissy. I really wanted to distance myself from that term even when I was coming to terms with my true identity. I probably hate that reference even more now than I did as a youth but for people that embrace it more power to them.

    I don't see a place for sissy dressing etc. in public and they may think they can come to a transgender conference and be accepted or get away with it. Unfortunately for them a tg conference may be the worst place for them to go because most of the attendees would want to distance themselves from that public behavior and it is certainly not the image we want. I see the danger in the general public viewing being sissy as just another part of being trans. They would be better served going to a fetish conference.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Everyone is part of the gender spectrum, even people who don't identify as having a gender. If we use the definition that is most widely accepted of transgender being an unbrella term describing people who identify with some version of gender different from their assigned birth gender, then those of us who are transsexual are part of the transgendered spectrum. No matter how strong you feel you have always been a woman, you were born with male genitalia and were raised a male, that makes you part of the transgendered spectrum as defined above. It seems "sissies" have a sexual fetish related to playing with some variation of genderso they are also transgendered (lots of people have fetishes). It is unfortunate that some people out of ignorance associate TS with fetishes, but that is an political or educational issue. Unless you can get everyone working with the TS and larger TG comminity to change these agreed upon definitions.

    ReplyDelete
  5. To debate a fine point with you, if people who identify as having no gender are part of a gender spectrum, it would seem only logical to also state that people who are born in the gender that they identify, without any conflict in their gender identity are also part of the transgender community and that makes the term completely meaningless.

    I agree with you that fetishes aren't restricted to some members of the "umbrella" term transgendered.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am sorry to disagree, but there are obvious logical errors in your extrapolation of your "fine point" on people who identify as having no gender. First let me clarify what I meant in my original comment. Except for asexual species, all animals have a gender. The evidence suggests that non-human animals do not have conflicts between their gender and their physical sex - sex and gender are synonymous. Because humans have consciousness and self identify, we can have a gender that is not synonymous with our physical birth sex.

    Consequently, humans self identify as male, female and those in between (i.e., genderqueer, intersexed, etc.). These self-identities may or may not be synonoymous with their physical birth sex. In addition, there are a few people who identify as having no gender. But practically speaking, the self-identified non-gendered person still has gender characteristics; they are just relabeling these characteristics and choosing to reject the dominant culture’s mythological perspective that there are only two genders.

    I can say I believe I am really a dolphin but it doesn’t make me a dolphin. On the other hand, I could declare myself a dolphin as an act of personal liberation, or as a political act, and it would have significant meaning.

    You suggested, as a way to disagree with my comment, that it was then “logical to also state that people who are born in the gender that they identify, without any conflict in their gender identity are also part of the transgender community.” It is disingenuous to suggest this was a logical extension of my comment. Cis-gendered people are not relabeling any characteristics in an effort to remove themselves from an identification system.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may have mispoken. My thinking is that gender is not a continuum at all. I meant to say that if all these identities are included in a spectrum, then biological males and biological females who identify with their anatomical apparent sex would be part of the spectrum or continuum representing the poles. I apologize for not being more clear. If such a continuum exists, my thinking is that someone with absolutely no gender identity ( a valid identity) is part of a null set and has no quantitative value which is necessary to be part of a continuum.

      Delete
  7. When I was 18 i wanted to be sure i was transsexual so i examined closely if i might be a sissy. I was not as i am a woman. i do however feel sorry for these folks. It is a hard place for them to be. i wonder if they are relate to being submissive more than being sissies or if being submissive is part of being a sissy. My heart goes to them. i believe that there is such value in showing kindness to everyone as there is far too much meanness shown to us all.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The whole sissy thing is unappealing to me, and the word has never been any thing but demeaning when used toward me. However, I can not condemn it. I am under the TG umbrella along side sissies, DRAG queens, etc. But this is another reason I never use Transgender as a synonym for Transsexual.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi all, I met a sissy at a Tg event weekend earlier this year.

    I was quite fascinated and wished to know more about her. She initially took exception to my approach and was very defensive. I explained I had no problem with her expression and was genuinely interested in her as a person. After this we got along well and I would like to think we are now friends.

    After reading the above comments I am intrigued that some in our community would be concerned that such a person would reflect poorly on them. The venue was quite public and the non TG folk did not seem to be ill affected by her sissy behaviour and I certainly did not feel her gender expression would be seen in any way as similar to mine. She was wearing little girl's dresses, frilly socks, mary janes and carrying teddy bears and dolls. I was wearing women's dresses, heels and stockings and carrying a handbag. No comparison really.

    I think it may be time for us to become more compassionate and inclusive and to give all in our community the love and support we would like to receive ourselves.


    Jan

    ReplyDelete
  10. As a "sissy" I think that being a sissy is just role play. The Japanese are great at it. It's just that though. I look at myself as metro-sexual. The role play allows me to express the fem side of myself while maintaining my gender. In a matter of words I am making fun of both worlds.

    I have a beard and mustache; shaved head and a pretty nasty scar starting at the bridge of my nose going all the way down my left cheek. Now if I add my lipstick eye liner eyelashes and pretty dress with nylons and garters I am as happy as a lark.
    I love the pretty colors whether shiny,silky or dusty. If you were to see me though in public there would be no doubt I was a male. I don't hide it,can't hide it, and I don't want to hide it. I just like pretty clothing and I don't see another viable option.
    I am married and we have 4 daughters, 1 stepson and 1 girl that we just adopted. All of my daughters are aware that daddy wears panties to. In that regard they don't see me as being gay or a sissy they just tend to think it's hilarious.
    I am also a stay at home dad. I do dishes,laundry,grocery shopping,cooking,sew,paint,mow the yard,work on the cars,take care of the pool, walk the dogs, feed the cats, clean the house and I am the primary caregiver for our new daughter and I home school my 7 year old. I would write more but I really need to do my toenails!


    ReplyDelete
  11. IMHO, a person who identifies as a "Sissy" is, from a starting point, essentially a cross dresser who enjoys mostly the submissive aspect of assuming a "female as a bottom" role; and I think that is perfectly possible for this person to eventually evolve into a transsexual/transgendered person or maybe even identify as "gender queer". But I agree with previous posts in that it certainly starts as a sort of sexual fetish. It comes as no surprise that it is a very sought after practice, known as sissificaton/feminization, within the services offered by professional dominatrices; some even adopt it as a lifestyle in a D/s relationship (whether the dominant figure is female or male).

    ReplyDelete
  12. I identify as female but I don't,at least for the foreseeable future,identify as a woman. I am very conscious that I haven't experienced anything that genetic females much younger than me have experienced so how call I call myself a woman?

    Currently I identify as a girl aged about 11-12 as this reflects accurately my level of female experience. Now I know that this sounds weird but I've found that genetic females that I am out to have been and continue to be much more accepting of me as a girl then they were when I was trying to pass myself off as a woman. They've been teaching me and mentoring me and guiding me through the life experiences that they went through on their path to womanhood. As transgender people we must remember that genetic women can get angry and upset when a trans-woman try to pass themselves of as being the equals of genetic women in terms of womanhood. I was terrified of admitting to my female friends my lack of experience in their world but luckily a friend suggested that I was in terms of experience much closer to girlhood than womanhood and it was mutually decided that if I wanted to be accepted by them I should accept the status of girl within the group even though I am in my mid-twenties. As the only girl in the group I am not expected to contribute much to conversations. The women in the group don't expect me to talk about clothes,make-up,work or men in a knowledgeable and sophisticated manner. In other words I sit at the feet of these women and learn.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. You have touched on an interesting subject that I have considered on other postings and am writing about in the context of transsexual developmental psychology. I think you are correct in recognizing that in not having the developmental experiences that "normal" genetic girls have growing up puts you at a disadvantage in assimilating into the world of adult women of your age.
    I believe it is true that we go through a second puberty, not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically. Our development in some ways is out of phase. Intellectually and emotionally we are behind the curve to a degree, but because we have had adult experiences and have observed adult women in society, I believe we catch up more quickly than a young girl growing up. While at this point you find yourself comparable to an 11 or 12 year old, my guess is that you will you find yourself growing up quite quickly and in two or three years you will find yourself experiencing life as a woman in her young adult years and will soon catch up to a woman close to your chronological age. I think you are fortunate to have found some women who will mentor you and nurture you to catch up emotionally to where you will be able to live in a developmentally competent level to your actual age.
    All the best for your future!
    Lauren

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am a sissy. I'm not sure what else I am.
    I know that when I look in the mirror, 99% of the time I see someone who desperately wishes they were a girl, and 1% of the time I see a girl.
    Now maybe that makes me transgender.
    But I know for sure that I am a wannabe princess, and love wearing girls clothes, whether they are pink and frilly or more 'normal'.
    But I've concluded that what I really am is a sissy.
    I love pink, I love ultra feminine clothing, lipstick, heels and wearing breastfed in a bra.
    I love sissy. I own it. I'm proud to have finally worked out who I am.
    Now, I've thought about hormones, transitioning, etc, but (maybe out of fear) I've decided I'm not ready for that.
    But I am ready to be a proud feminine sissy.
    And I do feel a little hurt by the transgender community not being very accepting. As a sissy I am very supportive of the transgender community, but somehow feel that if I just made the decision to be me full time I would be accepted, but just doing it as often as I can makes me a stupid crossdresser, or pathetic sissy.
    It's a shame.
    I'm just a guy in my 40s who's finally accepted and embraced my lifetime of feminine desires and wishes.
    Not out of some sexual fetish. Just out of an acceptance that I've always wanted to be a princess.
    Sure, the internet tells me that as a sissy I should be a submissive Cum dump, but I just want to be a pretty princess.
    And if I had been born female that would be easy, but having been born male means I am queer.
    And I think that makes me very much part of the transgender community.
    Pity I don't feel that is reciprocal.

    ReplyDelete