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Current Climate

A Kandi's Land Essay

I have floated this theory of mine to quite a few people, CIS folks, gay folks, friends, members of our community. I have gotten no real push back on its validity. I have written and rewritten this post in my head for quite some time. Here goes….

I will remind everyone, no politics allowed here. It is not me burying my head in the sand, it is my desire to make Kandi’s Land an uplifting place, a place of shared exchanges, love and support. I have done a pretty good job of that so far, 🤞. I have had political conversations with like-minded individuals and am always left feeling like crap, let alone conversations with those who view things differently. So I simply have stopped them, it is no longer my world and I cannot change anything. But through this place, we do make a difference. Back to my thoughts…

We are all aware of the significant increase in anti-trans legislation and hate. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that as people get older, they become more conservative (the dictionary definition, not the political definition). They become set in their ways. Today’s generation has now been sticking things in the face of the older generation. They demand certain pronouns, using such inane terms as “they”. I may certainly be wrong about this, but the term “non-binary”, in the context of gender, is a relatively new term, at least in the general lexicon. When you push old people, they push back.

When the ultimate old, white person beer put a trans person on the can, look what happened. Part of being smart, is knowing your audience. If you are the best selling beer, selling to a certain clientele, why screw that up by getting greedy?

Another hot button issue has been the drag community. I make no apology for my dislike of drag. I dislike it just like I dislike skydiving. You have every right to do it or enjoy it, but it’s simply not my cup of tea. Everyone and anyone has a right to be a drag performer and/or enjoy their performances. Drag queens have every right to be treated like every other citizen. But do you really need to read to kids? Do they have the right? Absolutely! But should they……. Shoving things in people’s faces again.

I like to use examples when I try to make a point. Do I have the right to wear a “Black Lives Matter” shirt? Of course I do. Do I have the right to wear one while walking past a KKK rally? Yes, but should I………

I recently attended the Plexus (Cleveland’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, more LGBT than Chamber of Commerce, but I digress) Summer Soiree. I saw some of the most beautiful people, but I also saw things I cannot unsee. An overweight male, wearing only a pair of bikini underwear, his body painted all over in some type of design that probably meant something. First of all, common courtesy says this guy should probably not be basically nude in public (especially THIS guy). In a very public forum? There was another person in a lovely gown, full beard and chest hair. Did he have the right? Certainly. But that person did nothing to help the overall perception of the general public on a very crowded evening in Cleveland’s Flats. Me, no one turned sideways to gawk at me because I presented myself well. I am a representative of all of my sisters each and every time I walk out the front door.

I have had many, many LGBT people agree with me that the community needs some good PR. Every Pride celebration is filled with love, acceptance, support, people that you would welcome as your next door neighbor. Then there is that guy walking around in only a leather thong. Who gets on the local news? Thong guy, or the drag queens. Not the people you would welcome as your neighbor.

I can only view the world through the prism of my own eyes, my own significant personal experience (and remember, I not only have experience with the general public while in a dress, I lived with criminals for two years, more on that soon). My opinion means something. I have so far been able to navigate well over a thousand outings, dressed completely as a woman, speaking with my male voice, in tens of thousands of places, in front of hundreds of thousand people, never one single cross-word or bad experience. Smart, appropriate, confident, visible.

I learned to “read the room” so to speak: whether it was negotiating to watch something other than BET on the unit TVs; harmoniously working out in a space filled with enormous gentlemen you all would avoid and who could crush you with little effort or thought; successfully representing myself in a Federal courtroom (I am not an attorney, but slept at a Holiday Inn the night prior); setting an unimaginable goal of running The Boston Marathon and actually DOING IT (walking on the moon was a more likely scenario for most of my life); or walking as a bridal model in front of an audience of people that cheered me because of exactly who I am, in a gorgeous wedding dress!

Just because you have the right to do something, should you? Be smart out there! Change happens, but it does so glacially. There are no more “white only” drinking fountains and over time, more public restrooms will not be gender specific, they are already out there. Yet racism still exists and hate will always be a fact of life. This goes back to Adam and Eve right up to today. But we have to learn to adapt as life is full of compromises, respect is earned, not demanded. I never play the pronoun game and I travel in many circles that do. I am sure many will agree with me and many will not. And you have that right.

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24 Responses

  1. Hear, hear!

    I have read that “hear, hear” is an abbreviation for “hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!”

    It certainly applies here.

    Jocelyn

  2. Kandi, I wholeheartedly agree (and, like you, I cannot ‘unsee’ the near-naked guy with the painted body even though I never actually saw him!).

    I have little personal experience outside the closet but as an avid reader of everything posted here I think the key to acceptance is respect. Respect for others we encouter, respect for women in general and respect for the rights they fought hard for. It’s quite simple really, if we want to be treated as any other woman, we should dress appropriately and behave appropriately with ‘appropriately’ here meaning in accordance with what society reasonably expects of females. Unfortunately, a small but vocal faction have decided that rather than them conforming to the expectations of society, society should conform to their expectations. Push too far and the backlash comes with depressing predictability as we have now seen.

    Thanks to the efforts of the aforementioned faction and one particular high profile individual, there is an awful lot of negativity around. But there are rays of hope too – at a local level, we need go no further than Kandi’s Land to read account after account of acceptance and even those denouonced as transphobes by the activists frequently stress their support for adults to live their lives however they see fit and without prejudice. And that’s really all that most of us could wish for.

  3. Kandi,
    I think that is one of, if not the best, posts you’ve ever written. It is very meaningful and so eloquently detailed. Thank you for putting things in perspective.
    Sherry

  4. My dear friend Kandi you write with great passion and I so agree.
    In the current political climate unfortunately the politicians take the extreme to bring about their agenda and only do harm to those of us trying to just live our lives.
    I do hope things get better as I do my best to represent the trans community in a good light
    Rachael

  5. Kandi,
    That’s a pretty big can of worms you’ve just opened !!

    Talking about people’s rights raises quite a dilemma . Like you I exercise my right to be openly transgender which for us means we want to show the world that our preferred gender is female . At the same time we also respect the people around us which means we’re not in their faces to gain acceptance . Some people within the spectrum want to stand out , they seek the attention to show the world they’re transgender they’re different . As you mention some parts of society are exercising their rights to object to these demonstrations both vocally and physically . I agree with you that these people aren’t helping people like me trying to live a normal life in the community . Yes we have seen big changes but sadly some aren’t all to the good , we have to accept to gain acceptance we might have appease some members of society , I feel it’s a small price to pay to be able to live comfortably in our chosen gender .

    The part that really niggles is the people you mention make the one big gestures and then disappear , you could argue they simply jumped on the LGBTQ bandwagon for an interesting ride without any deep conviction . I’m afraid some people really do like to cause trouble with no particular motive .

    While you don’t wish this to turn into a political debate , my feelings from a UK perspective are that politics aren’t governed by elected politicians anymore , since COVID the media has taken control , everyone has to answer to a often faceless , unelected media .

  6. Kandi,

    We are friends, so I hope I can say this. I “mostly” see where you are coming from, and your readers have given appropriate non- political comments. I do think if we are being respectful ( and going about in a thong or bearing one’s breasts don’t do that), we have a right to expect it in return (and to be appropriately vocal if we don’t receive it). You hit a hot button for me right now on the pronoun issue (everyone knows my thoughts based on my essay here). Yesterday I had someone close to me insist that it was perfectly OK to refer to Caitlyn Jenner as “he” because “I knew [of] him before he transitioned.” Really? If I knew an unmarried woman before she was married and changes that aspect of her identity, is it still acceptable to refer to her as “Miss?” I don’t think so. If you know someone is transgender, the decent thing to do is to call them by pronouns consistent with their identity and their wishes, at least while they are expressing that identity.

    Thank you for a thoughtful post.

    Lisa

    1. We will always be friends! True friends can agree, disagree and have conversation and discussions without damaging that friendship.

      My point on pronouns is that the younger generation requires pronouns that a few years ago, by dictionary definitions, do not apply. Yes, our language evolves, but the demanding of pronouns causes the pushback. I didn’t say they were right or wrong, just that they play into the problems these days. I attended an orchestra concert with some friends where I was referred to as “he”, but treated very respectfully. I had no issue. I worked a film festival where they very naturally referred to me as “she” and I appreciated that. Just some food for thought here… Beside, this essay was broader than just pronouns and about the in your face sort of reality we face these days. Yes, I know, that toothpaste will not go back into the tube. But when you poke a bear, it gets pissed. I believe what many of us do here moves the ball down the field, it’s not going to happen overnight and societal changes never has.

  7. Kandi,

    Today’s society in general is more self-centered and concerned with “I, me” rather than “we, us”. This results in people often caring more about what they want and are oblivious about or don’t care about the impact on others. People are also more impatient, they want change right now, not somewhere down the road. The result – thong man getting his jollies parading around in bikini undies covered in paint. Does he know or even care that he is actually helping to reverse, not advance, the gains made by the trans community.

    Meanwhile, you, me, Amanda, Teresa, Jocelyn et al conduct our dressing lives in an appropriate manner, one designed to hopefully insure we are generally accepted in society. I live full time as a woman, have been out in public around 300 times and do my best to present as an attractive, stylish middle aged woman. Like you, I have never had a problem and it’s frustrating that Mr. & Mrs. Average American may lump me in with outliers and attention hogs like thong man and others. Also like you, I think of myself as a representative of all our sisters with “we, us” being just as important as “I, me”.

    Fiona

    1. Fiona,
      I feel you make a very valid point about the modern generation , from a UK persepctive I feel it’s become worse since COVID . Many feel they need to blame someone and expect compensation , it has become a more blame society with expectations of immediate results .
      Also the point about comfortably being out and about , the word RESPECT is an important one , we will only gain that repect if we respect others .
      Now the problem with labels , Lisa makes a good point about people’s past history , if you choose to formally change your title as a women does when she marries the same rules should apply to transgender people especially if they have made an official declaration ( as I’m debating at the moment ) . Do I have problems at the moment ? Sometimes you have to accept there are the inevtiable slip ups , I usually politely correct them but I can never correct my ex-wife even after my divorce I’m still the man she married and the father of her children , so I will will be firmly male to her .

      I did a quick maths calculation and since going full time it equates to 2,190 days over the last 6 years , gosh that’s a lot of makeup !!!

    2. Thanks Fi. We work within the system, being visible, which is the actual solution. Be out and non=threatening and slowly minds will change. I know I do that every time I am out, I change at least someone’s perception every single time. As do you, as does Dee, as does Sherry, as do we all!

  8. As they say in the judicial world, I respectfully dissent.

    The reason a MINORITY of the population whines about these issues is because 1) they have nothing positive to add to the conversation and 2) the leader of their party is facing 91 criminal counts in FOUR different jurisdictions for his repeated violation of our laws and constitution, and they need distractions.

    Drag queens don’t molest kids, but priests and pastors have consistently done so over the past fifty-plus years and the powers that be have consistently covered up those abuses.

    Bud Light? They sent ONE can to an Influencer. So the problem is the company that tried to expand their reach to the TG community, or the mob that made a mountain out of a molehill? And if it hadn’t been Bud Light, there would have just been another target (which was Target).

    As to Pride, those individuals have as much right to express themselves as they choose, just as we do. It cannot be tolerance for me, and none for thee.

    As to people pushing the envelope, we would all still be in the closet if not for those who were in the Stonewall riots, or began the first Pride parades, or simply went out crossdressed when it was illegal to do so. I will repeat once again, there is no better time to be LGBT than now, thanks to those before us who were willing to stick their necks out.

    Or ask the question. Was baseball “woke” in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color line? Or was it correcting a past injustice?

    The problem is not those people you cite, it’s those on the wrong side of history.

    1. Dee, I do not disagree, nor do I back off of my statements. Both or all of this can be true. If you walked around town in a thong and it wasn’t a Pride event, you would probably be arrested. Bud Light did nothing wrong, just just stupid. They know who buys their beer. For a company with multiple brands, why chose that one to sell to the LGBT community? Bad business. You and I both know, even though we go out and do so generally without fear, there are still places neither one of us would go to. The realities of the world, of our society are what they are. To suggest we change the political system is obvious and we both know, never, ever going to happen.

      My words were selected carefully and discussed in great detail with those in the community. I never said anything other than what I believe is causing these issues, I never said they should stop or that they are wrong. These are observations from my significant personal experience. Thanks my friend as always for your friendship. You “walk the walk”, as do I. Just because hate is wrong, doesn’t mean it will ever go away. It will not. Been here since the beginning of time. Sadly, things will continue to get worse.

      Working within the parameters of the playing field generally will be more effective.

      I knew you would contribute here and welcomed it. Everyone here needs to know the lay of the land and continue doing our good works. Sun-Dees, thoughtful posts and dialog help all of our sisters.

  9. I’ll refrain from overtly political commentary beyond observing that surely there are far more consequential issues or problems in the world than the participation of transgender teens in sports. (I read recently that the number of bills introduced to protect society from this supposed scourge actually outnumbered the total number of transgender high school athletes.) Those who promote intolerance do so to rile up their base and promote the idea that intolerance and prejudice are OK.

    I do think that transgender people have an obligation to present ourselves in the best possible light. I’ve always avoided Pride events because I felt that the often overtly sexualized dress and behaviors were rather degrading rather than liberating.

    1. Kim,
      A case of making a mountain out of a molehill ! Please don’t get me heated about transgender sport participants , the whole situation could be resolved by SENSIBLE dialogue . Many sports could utilise a handicap system ,( it works in horse racing ) and some sports could be played on equal terms , sadly it’s the minority who don’t want it to happen and influenced the IOC to backtrack .

  10. Kandi, reading this it struck me that this summarizes why I love you so much, although the list of reasons is endless as far as I’m concerned. I really should spend more time here on your site. It always gives a boost of sanity in a world gone crazy. I could not agree more with everything you said and really appreciated the insightful comments on this post as well from all the people who are wiser and more experienced than me. I’m still shaping my perspective on a lot of these issues but have overall been quite reluctant to associate myself with the lgbt communities in any way because of those very things. I have a very conservative background and everything I know about these things, I’ve had to figure out myself. Having friends like you, Amanda and others, who have been so kind to me and respectful to others whether you see eye to eye with them or not, has opened my eyes and shaped my own perspective to some degree, helping my narrow mind become more accepting and tolerant of others no matter how much I might disagree, not to mention helping me accept and understand myself. You are the kind of women I want to be like. l stand in awe of a man that can present as a beautiful woman and whether passable or not I wouldn’t have any issue with their pronouns and would be happy to oblige any respectful person. But try and force the issue and my stubborn nature tends to do the very opposite. If all transwomen were like you Kandi, Amanda and the other contributors on this site, I don’t think there would be any issue with acceptance. From my view it seems the attack on trans people is generally a result of a minority of radical activists trying to force everyone to accept them and they’ve never been told no in their lives. And the increasingly number of made up pronouns is just ridiculous. I’m sure it’s not genocide to use the wrong pronouns for someone. At most it’s rude or inconsiderate if intentional. But I think to be respected you have to show some respect and consideration to others who may not agree with you. I have been very happy to leave politics aside when it comes to these issues with myself and my trans friends because it is so divisive, but sometimes things have to be said that might rub some people the wrong way, yet you do it in such a kind and respectful way Kandi, that if anyone doesn’t love you, it’s their own fault!

    1. Lizzy, yes you should visit Kandi’s Land more often! 😊

      My essay is, from my experience, quite factual, but there certainly are other factors at play in our society. But I have found, personally and frequently, if you present yourself well (and you can take fashion risks, but do it with class) and if you completely own it, people will treat you like everyone and anyone else they interact with.

      And I also come from a very conservative mindset. You are loved and supported here whenever you need it!

      Your significantly older sister,
      Kandi

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