"As I hear all the tawdry details of Jenner's story, I am
also re-reading 'How Sex Changed' by Joanne Meyerowitz.
[...] In it, Meyerowitz discusses the reactions to
Christine Jorgensen's coming out in the 1950s, and how both her
tale and many others who came out shortly thereafter, were
steeped in the same sort of salaciousness as the promotions for
"Upon reflection, I realize, too, that every transgender
person - and not just the Jorgensens and Jenners - face this same
sort of thing. When you are trans, the standards of privacy are
thrown out the window. We are expected to share our most
intimate details to anyone we come across.
"Without exception, any time I was interviewed in any
depth, I found myself asked about my name prior to my transition,
or for photos of myself from my youth, or for details of any
surgeries I may have undertaken. It really didn't matter if any
of that would be relevant to the story: my disclosure was simply
"The same standard is not expected of non-transgender
people. Maiden names and other such things are considered private
enough to be used as security features with banks and other
institutions. Non-transgender strangers don't expect details of
another's hysterectomies or vasectomies unless they happen to be
medical professionals. So many things are naturally considered
one's own private business.
"The minute one divulges one is transgender, however, all
bets are off. What's more, to make an issue about such questions
is to risk being panned as deceptive."
-- Gwendolyn Ann Smith,