Transsexuals feel their assigned sex at birth is wrong and their correct sex is one that matches their internal feelings. The media and society have a strange stereotyped image of what a transsexual person is which doesn’t reflect their reality. They are people like everybody else, all trying to find their place in the world. ‘Becoming Me’ tells the story of Kate, a female who was born a male and her journey to find happiness. Whilst transsexualism, gender and sexuality are topics, which have been explored artistically by numerous practitioners, my piece offers a unique perspective and offers a voice on a minority, which is rarely heard. It may encourage other older individuals in Britain to tell their story and challenge the image society has of trans people.
Modern society imposes rules on what is masculine and feminine, male and female, as well as the physical genitalia we are born with. If you are born a boy, you shall be a male and vice versa. We expect biological sex to align with gender naturally. From a young age we learn to put people into these categories: male and female. We need to categorize in order to make sense of our world, but once we have done so we respond to people in terms of the norms set out for us rather than how they want to be percieved. People aren’t comfortable with ambiguity and need to define an individual in order to identify them as either male or female. But what if we can’t categorize someone? What if the individual does not recognize themselves in any of the ‘boxes’ set out for them?
Catherine MacKinnon suggests that a person’s gender is separate to a person’s sex. Gender meaning man and woman is socially constructed and sex meaning male or female is biologically defined. Sex is the physical body and function whilst gender is a key part of identity and role within society. Transgender individuals feel a difference between their internal gender and the gender roles set by society. Transsexual individuals feel their assigned sex at birth is wrong and their correct sex in one that matches their internal feelings.
“Becoming Me”, tells the story of *Kate, a female who was born a male and her journey to find her place in the world and happiness. Lack of information on gender identity disorders and the generation in which she was raised meant that Kate dealt with her conflict for nearly 50 years before deciding to change her life for the better. The short film reveals Kate’s happy childhood and initial feelings of not fitting within a ’box’. We then see Kate as she is now, in a way she has always wanted to be perceived: female. Kate is still the person she has always been but now her body matches her mental gender. The film challenges our human need to categorize people and encourage people to view transsexuals in a way they want to be seen.
MacKinnon, C A.. (Jan 1989). Sexuality, Pornography, and Method: Pleasure under Patriarchy. Chicago Journal. Vol. 99, No. 2 (2), 314-346.
Cohen-Kettenis, P.T and Gooren, L.J.G . (1999). Transsexualism: A review of etiology, diagnosis and treatment . Journal of Psychosomatic Research. Volume 46 (Issue 4), p315-333.