I’m not sure whether he is a transvestite or a deliberately bad drag act, but Conchita Wurst has won the Eurovision song contest on the merits of being a man in a dress. By all accounts it had nothing to do with the quality of the song. I gave up watching Eurovision a few years before Terry Wogan did the same, but I know full well that Eurovision is by far the queerest tv event since queer as folk. So what does it matter?
Well it matters because it puts the issue in the public consciousness, I’ve been hearing people muttering and grumbling with casual transphobia. I wish they would realise how much harm that does. That the people who just so happen to have transgender or transvestite inclinations are real people, they have feelings, they are beloved of God, and you could be sat right next to one in the pub and not know it.
But it has been a good time to educate people about the differences between drag acts, transvestism, transgender and transsexual:
Drag acts are just for the stage, a man, doing their best possible imitation of a female performer, or a woman doing their best impression of a male performer. So Conchita doesn’t fit very well into that category because the beard stands out a mile.
So is he a transvestite? if he doesn’t wear women’s clothes off the stage then no he isn’t, if he does then yes he is. Or is she transsexual? Which means her internal gender identity is female and that she wants to have a sex change. Note you can be transsexual without yet having done anything to your appearance or your body to conform to that internal gender identity.
Transgender is a catch all term for people who want to transition to one extent or another, but may not necessarily want to have a sex change.
So there we have it. It is perfectly fine to call a man in a dress a man, *shock horror* some men like dresses, women’s clothes are so much more exciting than the drab brown and grey you get in the men’s section.
It is ok to call a drag act a man too but whilst in the stage persona it is flattering to use female pronouns because that is the entire point of the frivolity, and it is just that, frivolity.
It is a different story for transvestites, wearing clothes of the opposite sex is far more important to a transvestite because what we wear in our day to day lives does actually matter and forms a part of our identity.
It is really helpful and loving to use the pronouns of preference for a transsexual because gender dysphoria is extremely traumatic. Any gesture, however small, that helps a transsexual feel more comfortable with who they are is an absolute God send.
Whilst there are real differences between male and female, we all share a common humanity. God didn’t need to send Christina to save women. We are all created in the image of God, no matter what we wear and whether or not our gender identity fits the body we were born with.
People should not be transphobic, homophobic, racist, xenophobic, sectarian, classist, elitist or any other form of bigotry under the sun quite simply because God has created us to love one another.