Debunking Myth #8: Transgender people are ugly

This post is part of a series on Debunking the 10 (+1) Lies About Trans People

Myth #8:  You can tell someone is transgender just by looking at them

crossdresser‘Tranny spotting.’ What a horrible term. As if we’re safari animals!

There is this notion out there that you can tell a “tranny” from a mile away. Supposedly, transsexuals all look like freaks of nature.

Let me just say two things to this:

  1. Many transgender people are perfectly “passable” – you would never guess where they’ve come from. In fact, many transgender people are externally as well as internally beautiful even by society’s unfair standards.
  2. Even if a transsexual does not meet society’s aesthetic standards, it shouldn’t matter anyway. Should people assume all transsexuals look “different”? No, because it’s simply not true. However, even if it were true, it is EXTREMELY SUPERFICIAL to judge people only by their looks! Don’t we have enough problems in the world from humanity being objectified and held to impossible standards!?

Now I could rant and rave for pages on the close-mindedness, superficiality, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, and falsehood that accompanies this myth, but I’d prefer to have real transwomen speak for themselves.

Here is what society expects us to look like:

Here is the real deal:

(clicking on their pictures will send you to their videos)

realdeal 01

realdeal 02

realdeal 03

realdeal 04

realdeal 05

And finally the beautiful Emma B. with some wonderful affirmations for other transwomen:

realdeal 06

Click on her photo to go to her video.

I think these beautiful transwomen speak for themselves simply by being. There is no need to argue against the myth that trans people are ugly when the wonderful reality is literally in front of our eyes. What these women embody in their successful physical transition is what every trans person embodies in the secret depths of their soul. Not everyone can express their inner identity with the same ease as these amazing women, but that doesn’t change the true, present, hidden beauty that is objectively there and that the world sometimes refuses to see.

As a final note, I want to say something about the true nature of beauty. Consider the Mona Lisa:

The truth is that Lady Lisa is not a particularly attractive woman by either the standards of today or the time she lived in. She’s a far cry from Botticelli breathtaking Venus:

However, the Mona Lisa has been recognized by many generations as a beautiful work of art. She is intriguing, inviting, mysterious, restrained, elusive, ironic, individual, and charming. She has a more immediate beauty compared to the high “ideal” of Venus. She’s not just an object of perfection like Venus; she’s real. When you see that tiny, underwhelming painting in the Louvre, you can pretend that you know her. In her you become acquainted with a different kind of beauty, a kind that is just as real as Boticelli’s sensuous goddess.

I did a google search for “ugly transsexual,” and unfortunately an image of this wonderful transwoman came up:

Does this woman look like Catherine Zeta Jones? No. But is she beautiful? I would like to say yes. Stop looking at her as if she were an object or a curiosity! Look at her as a human being with an infinite, mysterious capacity to love and be loved. This transwoman is not a freak or a sideshow, or even remotely ugly. She is a wonderful, unique, individual human being who deserves the utmost respect. Think of Mona Lisa. There are secrets and hidden beauties behind this woman’s face that any person should feel privileged to affirm. She is a child of God, and I say she is breathtakingly beautiful.

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
― Confucius

Back to Debunking the 10 (+1) Lies About Trans People.

4 thoughts on “Debunking Myth #8: Transgender people are ugly

  1. Pingback: A Critique of Paul McHugh’s ‘Surgical Sex’ | The Catholic Transgender

  2. Whenever I hear this trope, I think of the Harlem Renaissance, where people of colour claimed a new aesthetic that included them, beyond current convention. Of course, to do that, transpeople have to actually be able to celebrate our unique beauty, not just how we fit into pretty boxes.

  3. For every passable girl out there, there are five Caitlin Jenner’s and six Serena Williams’. The cold, hard fact of life is that a man’s face does not look good on a woman’s body. Period! There’s no getting around that fact. You can wear all the makeup you want, your face will give you away unless you’re one of the lucky few who have a feminine face to begin with. And you will be ugly! You’ll look like a man in drag, so why bother? I love cross-dressing, but I have no illusions about how I look so I never try to pass myself off as a woman in public. If you can pull it off, great. You’ve won the transgender lottery. But like any lottery, there’s only one winner and millions of losers. That’s just the sad fact of life for the majority of us. So stop promoting false hope.

    • I’m sorry you found this post unhelpful. In my defense, I wrote it quite some time ago when I was first coming out. My point wasn’t to promote “passability,” but to break the media stereotype that every trans woman looks like a drag queen.

      Among other things, hormones affect the redistribution of weight around the face, as well as changing the texture of the skin and pores. I had a masculine face before transition, and after months of hormones my face began to look incredibly feminine. Some of this is good genetics, some is a matter of age (I’m only 23, so my physicality is a little more elastic). If you see pictures of the girls I listed in this post pre-transition, many of them looked very masculine.

      Beauty is only skin-deep though. For me, I don’t go out “dressed up” to “look like a girl”; I go out in my clothes as myself and mostly want to look “passable” for safety reasons. Maybe my experience is different because it sounds like (I could be wrong) you identify as a crossdresser. I’m a fully transitioning transsexual woman; I simply don’t have the capacity anymore to live as a man.

      At the same time, I deeply understand your frustration. Ironically I read this comment as I’m struggling to walk out the door to go grocery shopping. You see, because of a bureaucratic nightmare I’ve been off hormones for 4 months and the increased testosterone has changed my face to look much more masculine. I don’t want to go out the door today because I officially reached the point this morning where my face looks discordant to the rest of my body (and dress).

      I’m sorry if it seemed like I was promoting false standards of beauty.

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