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01 October 2013 @ 05:28 am
In what ways is it useful to think of James Tiptree jr. as a transman?
The Weasel King: pic#32302970theweaselking on October 1st, 2013 01:34 pm (UTC)
Uh..... none?

To the best of my knowledge, Tiptree is nothing more than a pseudonym created because the dudebros of the time wouldn't read books they knew were written by women. There's no "trans"ness involved. Drag, maybe.

Edited at 2013-10-01 01:34 pm (UTC)
El Coyote Gordo: thinkingsupergee on October 1st, 2013 03:16 pm (UTC)
I wonder if it's that simple. Alice Sheldon obviously (and quite reasonably) resented the restrictions she felt that being defined as a woman placed on her and really got into the masquerade. And in 1967, there was no Trans* movement, only a few people who felt so drastically mismatched with their genitals as to seek drastic treatment.

Serene Vannoyserenejournal on October 2nd, 2013 01:39 pm (UTC)
I can tell you from one woman's experience that resenting the patriarchy doesn't make one trans. Otherwise, most women are trans.
El Coyote Gordo: actualsupergee on October 2nd, 2013 01:59 pm (UTC)
I am glad I asked this question. Your answer and others have made it clear to me that "genderqueer" works a lot better as a description. Thank you.
et in Arcadia egobooapostle_of_eris on October 2nd, 2013 07:12 pm (UTC)
et in Arcadia egoboo: Sacred Chaoapostle_of_eris on October 2nd, 2013 07:09 pm (UTC)
Her choice of a male pseudonym for her sf is completely explainable externally. I've never heard any claims of any unusual gender/sex/pcpolysyllabicneologism in her life or personality.

ETA — between opening this page to comment, and actually commenting, almost a dozen more comments appeared. The broadest commonality I see is around the problems of expressing all of oneself in a society with high-pressure restrictive formulas. This is more detailed and nuanced discussion of what I lumped as externalities.

Edited at 2013-10-02 07:16 pm (UTC)
Sherwood Smithsartorias on October 1st, 2013 01:53 pm (UTC)
I thought Tiptree was a cloak more or less hiding gender, not an affirmation of gender,
El Coyote Gordo: kleinsupergee on October 1st, 2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
See reply above and comment below.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on October 1st, 2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
Kalimac's comment was what I meant, though I didn;t express it well. (There is a slight overlay in that her voice always 'sounded' female to me, and I assumed Tiptree was a mask, like Andre Norton, which I knew was female because I wrote to her at age 15, around the time I read Tiptree.)
Kalimackalimac on October 1st, 2013 03:03 pm (UTC)
One lesson I took from Julie Phillips' biography is not to be as dismissive of this question as some are being. Tiptree was not just a pseudonym or a cloak, but a persona, that had a different character than Alice Sheldon, not just in the personality presented by Tiptree in letters, ut also in the fiction. I for one certainly see a great difference in style between most of the fiction written before the revelation, and that which came afterwards.

However, while considering the trans side of this might add insight, at the end I see this more as a case of a woman finding a way to express her (stereotypically) "male" characteristics in a sexist society, rather than of a person whose self-image was male. And it has a bit in common with multiple personality cases (which may cross sex lines) too.
El Coyote Gordo: coy3supergee on October 1st, 2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you. This is very much the sort of thing that made me ask the question.

Edited at 2013-10-01 03:18 pm (UTC)
hey love, I'm an inconstant satellite: sharp dressed womanjinian on October 1st, 2013 04:12 pm (UTC)
I think her gender is okay for us to think about, but it seems disrespectful to place that particular restrictive label on it when she didn't. She clearly didn't want to perform the kind of womanhood that was being shoved at her, but plenty of people who identify as women don't either. It's worth noting that the Raccoona Sheldon persona was different from stereotypical womanhood as well: she was hard core! Trans* isn't the only way to be gender-nonconforming, though; I'd be pretty comfortable saying Sheldon behaved in a gender-nonconforming fashion.
El Coyote Gordo: chocolate coyotesupergee on October 1st, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)
Are Trans* and gender-nonconforming different things or different points on the same scale?
hey love, I'm an inconstant satellite: sharp dressed womanjinian on October 1st, 2013 05:07 pm (UTC)
It depends on who you ask, but in my limited cisgirl experience trans* folks often identify with a more binary view of gender, at least for themselves, while gender-nonconforming people often want to reject the whole concept of gender or express multiple gender identities, sequentially or simultaneously. This FAQ is pretty good for clarifying terms.

When we're talking about someone who didn't have access to identifying themselves with any of those terms, it gets more complicated: I would hesitate to say Sheldon was any of these words, because I just don't know what she would have thought about them. I'm pretty second-wave feminist in my head, and I sometimes struggle with the prevalence of transmasculinism because what I want is more awesome women and expanding the definition of womanhood. Sheldon might've felt the same, or she might not.
El Coyote Gordo: thumbsupergee on October 1st, 2013 05:22 pm (UTC)
Useful resource. Thanks.