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8 comments | Monday, July 27, 2009

Over the weekend groundbreaking America's Next Top Model contestant Isis King appeared on Larry King Live to discuss her transition from male to female on a show titled 'The Secret Life of Transgenders'. King caused a media firestorm as the first pre-op transsexual to appear on the popular modeling competition.

Sitting in for Larry King was sex therapist Dr. Drew. Also on the panel were celebrity trans woman Alexis Arquette, first elected trans mayor Stu Rasmussen of Silverton,Oregon, and Ryan Sallans, a female to male transsexual. .

King spent most of her on- air time attempting to explain why she prefers the term "born in the wrong body" versus transgender.

"Well actually I prefer woman because that's what I identify myself as", says King. But as far as the whole transition I prefer born in the wrong body because I was a woman who was born in the body of a male. As far as the term transsexual I totally don't prefer at all".

It's a shame King wasn't able to clearly articulate her views during her appearance on Larry King Live. The transgender community suffers from such a lack of understanding and is even marginalized within the gay community. Very few people even know how to address trans men and women appropriately during conversations and the media definitely lacks training when it comes to reporting on trans issues.

Get into the full Larry King Live episode below. Isis King's segment begins around the 11:00 mark.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I think my biggest question is...
How does an individual who is born biologically male (or female)know that they are truly a woman (or man) trapped in the wrong body? How do they know what it feels like to be the "opposite" gender?
I don't understand transgenderism, but I do want to learn.

July 27, 2009 2:32 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I kind of understood where Isis, as a fully transitioned woman, was coming from. The term transgender suggests gender ambiguity, it leaves a question mark in the air, it emphasizes incompleteness, whereas WOMAN is straight to the point, concise, black or white. There is no gray area.

On a lighter note, Isis looked unbelievable. And no shade, but I thought Alexis was a transsexual, I had no idea she was transgender. She seems like she has been in transition for yeeearrrsss.

July 27, 2009 9:00 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

For the first commenter, it can be very difficult to explain what the experience of being born in the wrong body feels like, and I believe there are a few different variations on the narrative descriptors used by people with these feelings.

Speaking only for myself, I had surgery with the same surgeon as Isis three days before her. My preference for language mimics hers, as well. I prefer language that focuses on my womanhood and minimizes my past medical condition (I'm gravitating toward "woman of transsexual history" currently).

Anyway, how did I "know?" I honestly can't really explain it, I just did, and from when I was very young (I tried to pull my penis off with pliers several times when I was about 6). I have never been so sure of anything in my entire life, and I was sure of it for my entire life. Before I had surgery someone asked if I had any doubts, and I think I considered the very question bordering on laughable.

A question that I've seen prove helpful in aiding people's understanding is: "If you woke up tomorrow with the 'opposite' genitals, would you suddenly be the 'opposite' gender, or would you still be 'you' just in the wrong body?" There's a lot of debate about biological essentialism and all that, but gender identity seems pretty immutable. (I hate the phrase "gender identity" but it's so far the best way to describe the concept/experience.)

Hope this helped! (And Isis kicks very much ass, as I'm sure is obvious!)

July 28, 2009 1:55 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I don't believe in this "born in the wrong body" theory. You are born a male or female. You may come to feel as if you should be something different from what you were born as, and if these feelings are strong enough, you may go through the necessary medical and psychological transtions. If this is what would make you happy, and feel like the person you feel you should be, then
this is what you should do. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable with, and within themselves, but to say you were born with the wrong body, is akin to saying you were born in the wrong century.

July 28, 2009 3:56 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

"to say you were born with the wrong body, is akin to saying you were born in the wrong century"

I'll just be kind and say that I find that a false analogy.

Science is backing up the born in the wrong body "theory." Brain studies are showing Male-to-Female transsexuals have areas of the brain that match people born female-bodied, and are dissimilar to men.

Transsexualism isn't something to believe in, it is a neurological birth condition (it's looking like it's related to the hormone wash in utero). Just as people are born with intersex conditions, people are also born with transsexualism sometimes and the proper treatment for that is genital surgery.

(If it were only so easy as surgery being a choice I would have certainly chosen against it, as it was expensive and temporarily complicated my life greatly. Now that I inhabit the proper body, my life is my own - finally, because I had the appropriate treatment for my medical condition.)

July 28, 2009 11:08 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

If you can be "born in the wrong body" can you be "born with the wrong sexual orientation"?

July 29, 2009 4:47 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

No, you can't, because there IS no "wrong" sexual orientation.

July 29, 2009 11:14 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

If there is no "wrong" sexual orientation there cannot be a "wrong" body either.

July 31, 2009 5:00 AM


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