Open notes to Lauren Harries

I don't wish to have a go at you, I'm a fan and own one of your paintings, but feel I have a right to reply in more than 140 characters on Twitter.

I don't agree with your binary definition of Trans, in that to be a Trans person, one has to surgically transition from one gender to another. In your continuing argument on Twitter, you state “when you feel like a woman-to have male genitalia is repulsive to you”. This might be appropriate in your case but is unfair to those out there who do not wish to completely transition, especially young trans people who might not want to change their genitals, it's a personal choice.

The word trans often means to go from one to another (transform, transition, transport etc), but this isn't necessarily permanent in black and white terms. Society places labels upon us from birth, why should we conform? If individuals choose to, that's their prerogative, as it is mine not to.

I was born biologically female, yet blood tests reveal I have a high level of testosterone in my system but I've decided I can be who I want to without surgery. As a 'Tranny with a Fanny', I adopt the fa├žade of a drag queen temporarily, reclaiming over the top codes of femininity from decades of misogynist drag queens to the female body and hope to challenge the concept of perceived gender binaries through entertainment. By calling myself a Tranny, I'm asking people to look beyond what they think they know about gender, perhaps their own and ultimately celebrate gender diversity.

I would like to see 'Tranny' reclaimed by the Trans community and not the negative it has become. The word Queer was a term of abuse and reclaimed as political and positive by the gay community. Why not Tranny?

When it's used by ignorant idiots in the street, why not respond with “yes darling, and bloody proud” instead of demanding politically correct terminology. I have an amazing Trans friend who confronts people when they negatively question her gender and explains that she is in-between and that it doesn't matter, she's human...I believe this is a positive way forward.

I'm lucky I live and work in the progressive East London where the current alternative scene is made up of all manner of queers, trannies and trans people who don't conform to strict gender or sexual binaries. This Sunday, as a community, we held a Boob-A-Thon for one of our Trans sisters and raised a lot of money. I hope this is representative of a future where it's not gender or sexuality that defines a person, but who you are.

I don't expect you to agree with anything I've said here and there'll probably be opposition from members of the Trans community but I'm not going to change how I define myself. In the eight years I've been performing in this guise (five years as the 'Tranny with a Fanny'), I have never intended to insult or ridicule Trans people but to empower and support them (especially since Stonewall have stopped supporting Trans people). I'll publicly stand up for any Trans person and defend their right to be who they want to be and define themselves however they want to.

I've even set up an arts community, Hot Laser (Queer Arts Community) . We're making a film (Hot Mess) and still in the early stages but has been set up to promote and encourage creativity of queer and trans people.

Stay positive girl....sod the ignorant and celebrate who you are....just as I will continue to do.


x


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