I recently reached out to a talent agency that specializes in representing transgender and non-binary talent. After some understandable fact finding on their part, I received the following response:
I just noticed on one of your sites, Kandi’s Land, and you refer to yourself as a crossdresser. We only represent out transgender and nonbinary talent. We do not represent cisgender actors whether they crossdress or not. Cisfemales are lucky because they have been able to crossdress for many decades. Cismales should be able to wear whatever they want too.
We are trying to change societies narrow thinking of all transwomen which is we are just male crossdressers or drag queens. We aren’t. They are cisgender males. We are transfemales. Huge difference. If you want to move forward in the industry, you’ll need to talk with mainstream managers and agents that represent cisgender people.Name Withheld
My initial reaction was how do I differ from a non-binary person? That’s splitting hairs, but really what is the difference (rhetorical question, I don’t want to open a can of worms here)?
No problem, but if you read anything on the blog (which I do not expect you to), I consider myself transgendered. Yes, I use crossdresser as a reference term to come up in searches of people like myself. And yes, that was how I originally identified myself. No longer. My blog is my journey to peace and happiness.
However, I made a vow to a wonderful woman over 35 years ago, so complete transition is not possible.
While I completely understand that is not who you represent, I have done some amazing things to changes the minds of thousands of people. I have done significant work to contribute to changing society’s narrow thinking.
There are many like me who are transgendered and cannot transition for one reason or another. That doesn’t make us any less female and it makes us something more than the label “crossdresser”. Everything I have listed and everything I have done I was accepted as a woman. I will be walking New York Fashion Week next month as a woman.
And I would never lump myself in with drag queens.
Thank you for being honest and getting back to me.
My search continues….Yours Truly
Our last correspondence:
OMG! This is awesome. I wish you would have explained a bit more in your first email. I did not have time to look up everything, so I inquire. When someone cannot transition, I refer to them as closeted transpeople. They are not able to be completely themselves for various reasons. I hope you are enjoying your journey. Sounds like your blog is your journal of that journey.Name Withheld
There was some more specific things discussed. I 100% understand not being interested due to the types of performers they represent (I am not a good fit there) and I 1,000% understand not being interested because I lack any real talent (they are a business, after all, and have to make a buck), but my not being trans enough? The responder back pedaled a bit, but the bottom line is they were not interested because I did not fit into a box, which is exactly the opposite of what trans and non-binary people are fighting against.
And this gets back to something I have come to understand. This big umbrella known as LGBTQIA+ is simply that, an umbrella. It is not a community. It is not supportive of each other. Yes, many, many individuals under that umbrella are communal and many are supportive, so please don’t pick nits with me. But overall, it is not a unified community. That is my personal, direct and significant experience. Your experience may be different and I hope that it is, but every time I dip my toes in this pool, I am reminded I am treated better by the larger, more mainstream, community. I never would have thought that when I started down this road.
The search continues…..
There’s an old joke – What’s the difference between a transvestite and a transsexual? About 5 years! – and whilst we’ve moved on from those particular descriptors, it perfectly illustrates the particular path that many take. So at what point, in the agency’s eyes, does someone fall within their scope?
I suspect that there’s a strong element of defining someone by the treatments they receive – can’t be transgender unless you’re on HRT or have had breast augmentation or have a booking for GRS etc. That’s like saying that you haven’t got a headache unless you take a pill for it!
But even if we cut them some slack and ‘allow’ them to define transgender as taking active steps to transition, how does non-binary fit into that? As someone well and truly planted in the binary camp, I’m a little unsure of the protocol here but my understanding is that to be NB, you have to float somewhere in the middle and the identity almost always comes from the clothing worn, not medical intervention.
Sadly, rather than breaking down barriers and encouraging inclusivity, the agency seems happy to ring fence CDers into the deviant fetishist category because they can’t possibly have any gender related issues driving it. I could understand that point of view from a wife who’s just been on the receiving end of a bombshell confession from her husband (echoes of yesterday’s post!) but it’s beyond the pale from an organisation whose sole raison d’etre is to promote the transgender community!
And before I climb down from my pulpit, a special mention for their assertion that ‘Cisfemales are lucky because they have been able to crossdress for many decades’! Really? I presume that, by that statement, they mean that trousers/pants are accepted garments for females? But, again, it shows a spectacular lack of understanding if they feel either that the only reason females wear trousers is to CD or that trousers are still an exclusively male garment and so any woman that dares to wear them is CDing.
With advocates for the trans cause like them, is it any wonder how far society still needs to go before acceptance becomes mainstream?!!
Thank you for your affirmation, Amanda!
Hi Kandi, Ugh! Double Ugh!! This smacks of a TERF-like (trans exclusionary radical feminist) point of view. Cutting up the terrain that we all occupy in this adventure called life, especially within the so very marginalized arena of gender exploratory/non conforming people only makes things worse. Support groups, and perhaps businesses such as this talent agency, that exclude, or focus exclusively upon, a narrowly defined user group, are, for sure, trying to make a buck, which is fine, but when encountering someone who is not exactly in line with their definition I always feel that it is better, more ethical, more generous, to try them out, to see if this variation might not just be a good anomaly rather than a ‘reject.’ What you do, what you have evolved into and developed for your life is nothing short of amazing and fabulous. “Keep on rockin me baby…..” (Steve Miller).
I’ll try to “Fly Like an Eagle”!
In my recent meanderings I am rapidly discovering those of us who love to explore and enjoy our feminine side, but may not be ready for any physical or chemical transformation, are in some ways “bastard” children to the LGBTQIA community. I personally feel this is due in large part to ignorance on their part, in that the very thing they are sensitive to (lack of inclusiveness), they also practice. I know “putting labels” on people is easy to do, but isn’t it funny how we sometimes don’t recognize our own faults except in those of others! What I am trying to say is our journey can be just as complex as theirs. Those of us, who for various reasons must maintain at least a vestige of our male persona, even though deep inside we feel very feminine, have just as much of a challenge as those in the LGBT community. Don’t get me wrong, I am not disparaging LGBT folks, in fact regardless of their “official” position on people like me, I feel I am one of them. However, it’s as Kandi says the LGBT “community” is not necessarily a “community”. In some ways it is more like the warring ‘city-states’ of old! A shame!
A definite shame.
My oh my what a response, well ok so I do consider myself non binary as I do present full female at times but others I don’t, such as work where my clothes are female but more neutral and I wear makeup many days
So wonder if I fit? It doesn’t matter I am a trans person and I’m good with that and I don’t care what others think
So just move on and yes others will embrace you once they really know what a great person you are
How we dress in and out of society should matter not
I have moved on, just giving food for thought. Thanks dear!!
I went to my first outing enfemme in 1979 at a private home on Long Island. I found out about it from the bulletin board at Lee Brewsters on 10th Ave in NYC. The term used mostly was crossdresser then. Over the years more and more names were used. Often I’m confused by all the different names and terms. We had a expression called the Gender Train. We said we are all on that train. Some took the Express and quickly had a sex change operation. Some took hormones or got implants. Some dressed full-time. Some dressed partially, some fully. Some started and then stopped. Today I think it is the same. We are all on a journey to find ourselves and be happy. Just my opinion.
Your opinion is as valid as anyone’s and is always appreciated here!!
The more things change, the more they stay the same… I say look in the mirror and be happy with whom you see! I don’t know my journey will lead to but I will be happy getting there!
I expect that agency won’t do very well.
The camera can’t tell of anyone’s degree on the transgender scale, from the first time to fully transitioned. The agency thinks they are targeting a niche by candidate; instead they should target the roles they want to fill.
If they are shortsighted enough to only accept candidates who tick a certain box, you wouldn’t want to have them represent you anyway, because they don’t know what they are doing.
Oh I know that! Just shining a light on our little world here. Thanks Dee (Tues-Dee)!
Kandi, I really enjoy your blog. Your coming out story to your wife is similar to mine. And I also initially thought of myself as a crossdresser until over a few years I found out it is more than “just a hobby.” I then thought of myself as genderfluid, and now I look at myself as Trans. Someone, like you, that is Trans but won’t transition because it would be impractical as I too am a husband to a wife. I didn’t know one could be Trans without having to transition. But one does not have to. We are valid.
Christina, I have written a post already which will run soon where I refer to myself as transitioning in-place. I so appreciate your comment and you, as well!