Communist Christine Jorgensen and the MILFs
You wake up in 2021 and all the trans girls are communists. Can you escape?
I. You Need MILF Theory
One especially distasteful psychiatric explanation for transsexuality chalks the whole being-a-woman-thing up to “too much mother.” A 1960s psychiatrist came up with the idea, but maybe he also didn’t because it sounds eerily similar to what they said about gay people at the time. Either way, the doc I’m thinking of explained it rather matter of factly. A mother who had some ambivalence about her femininity coddled her boy-child because her mother had never loved her. Or, maybe she was kinda gay and masculine and overcompensated. Or, maybe she was at least bisexual in some drably unfulfilled way and it messed up how she treated her boy. Regardless, the resulting intimacy between mother and boy-child would cause him to imprint a feminine identity from her at a young age. The child’s femininity was something like the fantasy resolution of the mother’s problem with being a woman. Among the specific behaviors named: too much breastfeeding and too much time naked, skin-to-skin. But also, equivalents in their emotional forms, whatever emotional nudity between a mother and child means. The point is, a little bit of mother makes a boy who grows up to be a man. Too much mother makes growing up a matter of becoming a girl to resolve your mother’s baggage. The psychiatrist would proclaim himself interested in correcting such unfortunate tragedies.
I, on the other hand, think it sounds kind of great. I would unironically want to be made a transsexual like that. I really love mothers.
Around the time that I started taking progesterone, I found myself becoming rapturously wet for the utterly boring MILFs of my neighborhood. Whenever I walked around my neighborhood, which I did often for long, meandering periods of headphones-in-edible-humming, I would encounter the much richer white women who lived in huge houses out for their daily power walks, runs, or pushing a stroller in viciously tight brunette ponytails and $120 yoga pants. My eyes, a little glazed over to be sure, started to linger more and more upon their common form. I began to fantasize about working my way through the neighborhood. Striking up an innocent enough conversation—just two gals who chanced upon one another, and then befriending one white mother—followed by another. At first they’d invite me over because they’d find me so refreshingly different. Like, one would pretend to her other white mommy friends that she couldn’t put her finger on it at first, a way of practicing due diligence before excitedly confessing:
She’s actually trans, you know! Transgender, I mean!
(She had learned to shorten it to trans from me and she wasn’t sure if her girlfriends knew the ins and outs of such abbreviations.)
This would be fine; in fact, it was part of the plan. I would come over only during daylight hours, while her husband was at work. (Remember, I only live around the corner, after all!) I would suggest first that we could give ourselves permission to drink that white wine at 1:30 in the afternoon because fuck it, I’m the enabler, the fun girl in her thirties who lives alone, does what I want, and wants a sex change too.
(Can you believe that?! Wait, can you say that, sex change? It’s what she said, I swear.)
And then, just as our budding sorority and the pinot grigio started to melt her icy armor and confuse her about what, exactly, the difference was between us—could I, like, be girlfriends with, like, a trans woman?—I would kiss her up against the kitchen counter with a hot wetness that felt breathy and she would kiss me back before she could think twice about it, saying fuck it and yolo and live in the present, girl! with her lips, now a little hard and puffy where she had always been accustomed to them feeling soft and impressionable. And then we would fuck in her master bedroom with the en suite bathroom while the kids were down for their nap and she would be confused, at first, because was it really lesbian if I had a dick? But I wouldn’t fuck her with that dick no matter what she said—and instead I’d make her cum so many more times than her husband ever had—and then, by the time she had to text me to say we couldn’t hang out anymore—that she was busy remodeling the guest room or whatever lie she came up with—that she had to stop the insanity and return to the stability she was sure was the reason for all her compromises with her husband—well, I’d have already moved one block over and start all over again with another hot white mom rounding her forties.
This is not a theory of practical transsexuality you’ll find in any psychiatric textbook. It’s more like a plot device: if the psychiatrist should accuse me of being the result of too much mother, then I wonder how I might get a little cheeky revenge by quite literally enjoying rather too much mother. A sort of
Oh, dear doctor, how right you are and yet, how very wrong all the same.
Actually, it’s not really about transsexuality at all, that’s just a conceit to advance the plot. It’s really about something less sexy sounding called white gender. Or white women, more specifically. And, ashamed as we will all be to admit it, cis and trans white women share such white gender in a way that makes fools of us all, but most especially brown transsexuals like me, your friendly neighborhood female rake, the MILF hunter.
I happily fuck these rich white moms not because I mean to turn them sapphic, though that is quite a pleasure to pretend. Still, I know that sexuality does not work that way, that “gay sex” does not make straight white people gay. On the contrary, gay sex is crucial to how they stay straight, believe it or not. Rather, the plotline here concerns the trespass of a color line, which perhaps is not quite what you expected. A white mom, a white gender, is never supposed to relinquish her appointed role as gatekeeper of the order of things, except perhaps in secret, a short-lived affair with brownness that threatens her husband and children, her six bedroom house, her Lexus and her landscaped garden. But all the same, the affair proves to be no threat at all because it will end on her terms, she will bury it, and nothing about her immense power, one she cannot encounter consciously because it is her special mandate to think herself mostly a victim of circumstance, as oppressed by men, not to say seduced by the mysterious brown transsexual next door—nothing of that will have changed. It was just a fuck, after all.
There is a theory of too much mother that has yet to be written, but it’s not about transsexuality. It’s about white women as the self-appointed guardians of the world. Real bad mommies.
It may surprise you to find where these mothers lurk, quietly calling the shots and denying it at every turn. It will shock and perhaps even discredit us all to dare to say that the heart of whiteness lives in many trans women, too.
II. Communist Christine
Picture a communist Christine Jorgensen.
Allow me to explain.
It has become somewhat fashionable, lately, to proclaim oneself a communist on the internet. It’s not so much a politics as an aesthetics. I’m talking about a lot of different things that you may or may have never heard of, let alone encountered online, that look and feel a common way. I will do my best to explain a few of them. For one, there are these anime girl memes for “eggs.” (An egg is the word for a trans person hovering on the precipice of declaring to themselves and the world that they are trans.) There are hilarious genres of internet humor devoted to the supremely comedic situation of being utterly close and yet impossibly far from being a girl at the same time. For a faithful representation of such a situation, many eggs and “baby transes” (this phrase refers to trans people who are less than two years into living publicly as trans, aka newly hatched eggs, or less than two years into hormonal transition) create and share memes of excessively feminine, childish, and overly sexualized anime girl characters. The text paired with such images harpoons the humiliating situation of desiring to look like that impossible girl, kind of having her emotional intelligence due to a lack of experience in being treated as a girl, all while in reality occupying the body of a lanky, unkept-haired, somewhat greasy faced white boy.
Who would want to be a white boy? But I digress.
I’m also talking about trans memes as a broader aesthetic. This is no doubt where communism appears. There is a trans meme version of Karl Marx, who is still regarded very much as a dude’s dude whose project was not realized in the nineteenth century in which he lived, let alone the twentieth. But there is a real place on the internet where people explain that Friedrich Engels, his partner in philosophical crime, was basically a trans woman. You see, however much Marx could not wrap his head around trans feminine things like sex work, or women’s domestic and reproductive labor in general, Engels famously argued that part of communism was the abolition of the family. This creates a certain opening for the trans girl communist.
The trans girl communists deploy their meme aesthetics alongside a certain political agenda. It prioritizes not so much class struggle over all others as a critique of contemporary “liberal politics.” This includes liberal trans politics, which lately has been obsessed with the most boring and useless issues of rich white people who believe that they are citizens and therefore deserve things that citizens get, such as pronouns, serving in the military to kill brown people overseas, and a Supreme Court. The politics of the communist girls, as you can imagine, favor the abolition not just of the family, but the state. No more police, no more prison, no more marriage, no more repressive laws enforced by deliberately dumb judges. (No more pinot grigio on a Tuesday afternoon?) Hormones become free and communal. Everyone gets the genitals or boobs they want, on demand and for free. And these communist transes also wage some good online campaigns against anti-trans “radfems” (short for “radical feminists”), opening new fronts in the broader meme wars.
Now, about Christine Jorgensen. Perhaps you have heard her name before. She was the first “celebrity transsexual.” In fact, Ms. Jorgensen was the most famous woman in the world in the early 1950s. Her fame broke under somewhat unclear circumstances, but the general point is that she had been a strapping young G.I. in World War II, precisely the kind of white, blonde, blue-eyed specimen that the new world order in which America ruled was intended for. And yet Christine had traveled to Denmark after the war in search of hormones and a mysterious surgery to convert her into a woman. Denmark was the destination not just because Christine’s relatives lived there, but because such surgery for a transsexual was more or less impossible, if not illegal, in the United States. That’s not to say that it never happened, or that Christine was the first. The point is, though, she was a gorgeous, high-femme white woman upon her return to New York City and the media hounded her, plastering her on the front page for months as the whole nation and, soon, the whole world, marveled at this testimony to the atomic age. Why, someone born a man who wished to be made a woman could turn to science and be reborn! Oh, what a triumph of plastics and synthetics, what a triumph of human reason over nature, and what a triumph of modern American individualism. If you didn’t like your body, why, it could be entirely remade in your image for it. All you had to do was want it bad enough and pay the fees. Try finding that in Moscow!
Christine Jorgensen was, that is to say, the least Communist woman you could find in the budding Cold War of 1952. This is important.
I am no doubt being shady, or bitchy, or cunty, in conjuring the communist Christine Jorgensens of the twenty-first century. I mean to denude them some, to make them some kind of collaborators with all that is American-as-in-worldwide-domination, despite their anti-imperialist politics. I am suggesting that these radical communist transes who reject the state, reject the world, reject the family, and claim to be working towards their abolition and a communal utopia, are a tad wrong on some significant count. But it’s not because they’re transsexuals, like Jorgensen. Nor because they’re communist.
It concerns how white trans women are similar to the white MILFs of my neighborhood fantasies, and so their politics are not as different as the communist Christines would hope.
It really comes through in how they fuck.
III. My Dumb Tinder Problem
There are only white trans girls on Tinder in the immediate radius around where I live, surrounded otherwise by MILFs. This is not because I am the only trans girl of color in the provincial city of Pittsburgh. True, this city is unimaginably segregated, and not by custom so much as deliberate municipal planning. The construction of the local roadways was meant to engineer a vice grip in the 1950s and 1960s, cutting Black neighborhoods off from the rest of the city as public housing far more brutal than its Soviet cousins was constructed and then promptly neglected. Some decades later, as gentrification started to hit this place, that public housing was torn down for a Whole Foods and white first-time homeowners buying up every last parcel of land. As a result, though white people number only something like sixty-five percent of the city population, the remaining thirty-five are near impossible to find unless you live in an isolated neighborhood.
Enter my dumb Tinder problem. I am not from this place and only moved here to become a professor in a department and on a campus where I am part of a tiny fraction of faculty who are not white. Though I moved to this place with less than forty dollars in my checking account, the professionalization to which I was subject placed me in what professors call a PWI (that’s short for Predominately White Institution). And so, my entry into this place was whitewashed by class mobility and I struggled to find friends outside of the other Black and brown faculty.
I noticed right away that I was very popular on Tinder. I had it set to show me only women, mind you, so I don’t mean creepy old men. At first, I thought it was because I was new on the scene, fresh meat or whatever. Of course every other trans girl would match with me, I reasoned, since I also had to swipe right on them to make that happen. But I quickly came to see that there was something else going on. I was desirable because I was brown. Because I had curly hair, came from somewhere far away (okay it was just Canada, but that still counted) and I cooked spicy food. Not that such things needed to be spoken. In fact, they never could be. It’s more like being desired for your proximity. To be close to me, to be associated with or seen with me, conferred something more than lesbianic pleasure on hot white trans girls, all who were more or less communists and who wanted to go on dates with me. I made them look good and feel even better. I assuaged something white in their hearts. I think I even made them more communist, aesthetically.
This was hardly a new feeling in my life, but I’m embarrassed to say that I felt quite wounded any time it happened with white trans girls. It wasn’t restricted to my dating or sex life, either; it was the fundamental condition of a sudden overflow of attention in all the trans circles in my life. White girls would send me unsolicited emails, DMs, follow me on Instagram and tell me how hot I was, and all that adulation felt so plainly undifferent from how my old white boyfriends had been smugly proud to bring a non-Christian brown person home to their Republican families, like I was show and tell, or a pet.
Up to this point I would say this is all fairly unremarkable because it happens to most people of color who are surrounded by white people. But Here’s the plot twist: these communist Christine Jorgensens also kept asking me to run away with them to burn down the world. They kept reaching their hands out and saying come with me, let’s escape, sis! I fucking love you. And I admit I was often smitten at first. Sisters, oh how long I had dreamed of having sisters! Sex with other girls, hot! And their politics had to be good, right? They wanted to abolish the state and redistribute gender and sex as common goods.
Except these white trans girl entreaties smacked of instant failure and that stings. I’m not an escape-artist, I’m a brown girl. Sad and, what’s more, stuck in a racial melancholia because you can’t transcend color. Overcoming yourself is the very definition of whiteness. The imperative to take hormones, get hot, and smash the state in a trans Thelma and Louise plot device has been disallowed to me from before I was born. And so, I would feel a slap in every communist Christine’s aggressive kiss, every satisfied moan I gave her, every confession that she actually really liked me, and every time she asked me to top her before laying back expectantly, because it all led to a pause. A moment where her face became a mirror and she waited for me to see myself in it. It was supposed to be gay, I guess.
But I couldn’t see anything because I’m not white. I am not a Christine. I am not a communist.
And so, it fell to me, in this carefully orchestrated choreography of erotic racism, to bear that failure. I’m so sorry, I would have to say, I can’t go there with you. I can’t run away. I can’t post before and after pictures on Twitter that look exactly the same and get 2.3K likes for each of them. I can’t argue with radfems on Discord and repost Marxist forced-feminization memes or talk all day about being a militant lesbian. I can’t make jokes about my girl dick and say all men are scum. I can’t be ultra-skinny with little tits and reclaim that eating-disorder look as queer.
I can’t be a communist Christine Jorgensen because she is a woman and a woman is white.
The wrong here comes in the form of these girls coercing me—all unconsciously, mind you, without ever having to say so, and without ever having to know so—to bear my failure to be a woke trans girl because I’m not white. It’s what grants them continued access to my value to them, that prized proximity to a trans girl of color. Better for communist Christine Jorgensen to be seen with me, close to me, than to really know me outside of consuming me like a sapphic vampire from a black and white film long since canceled.
I hear Christine is fucking that trans academic, Jules?
Yes! And so is Christine, but also Christine—
—oh and you’ll never guess it, Christine, too!
This is to say that I felt differently about the white trans girls, the way they treated me like white people all do. It felt like a betrayal because I had so few others to turn to for honesty and safety. If I had to consign white trans women to the heap of everyone else I couldn’t trust, then who would even be left for me?
In that way, I prefer the honest limitations of the MILFs. At least with them we both know what we’re getting out of the transaction, though we can both pretend we don’t. At least there’s an element of espionage, in that way, that I can channel into sex. When communist Christine Jorgensen tries to make out with me, or asks me to fuck her, I just feel used, yet again, in order to leave white gender undisturbed.
Unfashionable as it is to say so, trans women just as unremarkably fall prey to the trap of white womanhood as any non-trans women. They think that the thing in life that has hurt them so badly and made them vulnerable—being trans—makes them invulnerable from hurting others. And especially from being racist. But it is the job, the actual mandate of white women to lend that veneer to racism. It’s why TERFs are so successful, remember? They can claim they are victims, are weak, are threatened white women and so have to act to protect themselves, protect their children, and protect white womanhood itself by ensuring trans people don’t exist. I really wish I could say that white trans women are different, but on the count of white gender they are not.
I’m sorry to say that the word trans is frequently a misnomer. What you think is gender is really race. And that’s the heart of whiteness right there, mommy.