Tranerati Def – ‘The Traneratti’ Tranerati Def – ‘The Traneratti’ – The Elite Transsexual and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Tranerati Def – ‘The Traneratti’ – The Elite Transsexual and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
[Abstract] Full Text [PDF]
(Originally UK): A term created by Samantha Johnson (TransgenderZone.com) to describe an ‘elite group’ of transgender people who tend to be the key players in deciding the fate of the transgender community at an activist or media level. Often seen as a negative (although not always as it can be used as a comical comment) or derogatory term to recognise this group as using the community for their own agenda. Much of the community are often oblivious to this happening until it is too late. Tranerati can be sometimes seen as people who use populist shortcuts rther than graft for many years. This creates disquiet are a core level which in-turn can end up poisoning the individuals contribution at a later date when success is achieved and the press need spoilers to publish.
This is quite controversial and often negatively used against activists who whilst appearing to be campaigning for transpeople and even telling others they are doing so with misinformation – even propaganda of glorifying their often hollow contributions. They are in fact using working in the community’s best interests as a ruse to forward their own career. This soon comes to light but usually too late, as by then they have enough ‘fans’ inside and outside the trans community for this to no longer hold them back. Those who disagree are seen as jealous or failures (we will examine this ‘splitting’ later).
There is nothing wrong with working for one’s own personal goals, be that careers, or political ambitions. It only becomes problematical when the individual or individuals detach themselves when they get there. In other words the more success they achieve, the less they can do for those who made that happen, until they fade away and the community is left wanting once more.
Activists at grass-roots who stay put and just work hard are left holding the baby once more. Trans-currency lasts on average 3-5 years. So tranerati in a hurry to be famous quickly move beyond the community into either an ‘elite clique’ group or encircled by adoring non-transpeople who are also feeding from their currency – a ‘poster child’ if you will someone to up their diversity quotas whilst not really giving a damn personally.
The argument that is often raised is why are tranerati ‘using’ the transgender soap box when in reality they could go and be men or women they dreamed of like anybody else? Some then ask the question, why are they still hanging around? The next argument is they are a ‘Big Fish in a Small Pond’ within the transgender community, but would unlikely get off the ground beyond it in a similar way. This is where Trans-Currency comes into the argument. Another example of this is as an individual, it is unlikely the press and media would listen to you as anything other than a news story, however create a group and do a similar thing and the door is flung open. What is said from then on is often hidden and confidential. So suspicions naturally grow that these groups become almost like some secret society who speaks about ‘transpeople’ in their absence when in reality unless they can be transparent they are speaking for themselves. However, they do not say they are speaking for themselves in the meetings – less currency – they are almost always speaking for the community who are left in the dark.
This is problematical when the individuals concerned are using a community platform for their personal goals. When this happens often short-lived public displays of activism are used – they are always published to ensure there is evidence of these activities, this goes againt most grass-roots activism that is invisible but crucial – most transpeople are in the closet this this makes perfect sense. The displays are just enough to get a headline before moving on to the next slightly higher soapbox. Grass-roots activists will stay put and work with the communities for decades for no reward rather than use those groups they have bonded with to advance themselves.
Many have described ‘Tranerati’ as having ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’.
The cause of this disorder is unknown; however, Groopman and Cooper list the following factors identified by various researchers as possibilities:
Symptoms of this disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV-TR include:
- Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
- Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others
- Envies others and believes others envy him/her
- Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence
- Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
- Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior
- Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic
Some narcissistic traits are common and a normal developmental phase. When these traits are compounded by a failure of the interpersonal environment and continue into adulthood, they may intensify to the point where NPD is diagnosed. Some psychotherapists believe that the etiology of the disorder is, in Freudian terms, the result of fixation to early childhood development (Wikipedia).
I recommend reading this page as it does demonstrate the ‘Tranerati’ and Elite Transsexual view which is held by others quite well.
Pathological narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity. In its more extreme forms, it is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
NPD is considered to result from a person’s belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others [Gender Dysphoria]. This belief [can be held] below the person’s conscious awareness; such a person would, if questioned, typically deny thinking such a thing. In order to protect themselves against the intolerably painful rejection and isolation that (they imagine) would follow if others recognized their (perceived) defective nature [Being discovered as a tranperson or being ‘outed’ or ‘Read’], such people make strong attempts to control others’ views of them and behavior towards them. (Wikipedia).
The flaw many see in themselves is obvious if they identify as trans, and the solution is to escape this ‘defective situation’ and move beyond it. However, to do so requires ‘splitting’. People who are diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder use splitting as a central defense mechanism. According to psychoanalyst Kernberg, “the normal tension between actual self on the one hand, and ideal object [Perfectly passing and living as a cisgender man or woman] on the other, is eliminated by the building up of an inflated self-concept within which the actual self and the ideal self and ideal object are confused. At the same time, the remnants of the unacceptable images are repressed and projected onto external objects [Other transgender people who have failed to have surgery or pass as men or women unchallenged], which are devalued.” Or ‘othering‘.
If a trans activist or well-known transperson is intolerant or sees themselves as ‘better off’ beyond the transcommunity and whilst seeing themselves as a role-model for those who are unlikely to achieve this ‘status’- who they may see as failures or inadequates – usually results in encircling themselves with similar ‘elite’ trans, although they may well tokenistically be seen within sub groups as some ‘campaign trail’ a bit like a Eton educated politician sitting in a squat nodding but in reality wanting to get as far away from this as possible. How can tranerati speak for those that do not measure up to their own standards or even understand them especially when tranerati by definition are exclusive and above them in their thinking and ambitions? We then see the use of ‘Trans-Currency‘ as a selfish act.
A good example would be not being representative of the community they suggest they lead (without mandate for example), or being very sexually attractive and using this as a lever, not only as an individual, but as being the most attractive for a community as a whole by comparison, or when the community as an entity struggle to even pass in society as men or women, to have a ‘leader’ appear as a perfectly passable beautiful man or woman in actual fact can be ‘triggering’ and traumatic for the community they appear to represent. The ‘followers’ to this ‘leader’ by contrast can see themselves as failures for not measuring up to this standard to the point of body dysmorphism – even living vicariously through them.
You see, the problem here is usually transgender people compare themselves to cisgender people during their early lives as that is the only comparison available. However, there is an element of detachment from that state. They have not been cisgender (in the classically understood sense), so it is not as traumatic, although it can be especially when a Gender Variant child wants to play with dolls and is scolded for even considering it. So this cis-comparitive tolerance that many older transgender people view can just about be managed.
However, when very beautiful transgender people are selected over transgender people who are not. The selectors are using cisgender frameworks, not transgender-representative frameworks to judge our community. This is dangerous and does without a doubt result in the negative portrayals of transgender people in the press and media – even comedy. As the joke is more often than not based on the transperson’s inability to pass as men or women, or the use of masculine or feminine traits to mock. If transgender people look amazing and sound and pass better than their cisgender equivalent, it is a struggle to find a comical flaw.
This beauty ‘benchmarking’ is without a doubt one of the most serious problems our community now faces. There are enough ‘average’ looking cisgender people in the press and media to offset this, although many cisgender woman want ‘real bodies’ and no airbrushing (Photoshopping) of images even now. But a community that may have a handful of well-known transgender people in the public eye, and for them all to be either very passable (in voice and appearance) or very sexually attractive undermines the entire community. When we see a press story where a very masculine-looking transwoman is held up to ridicule in the press. We only have to ask ourselves by what are they basing this on? If they had no elite comparison then the stories have less impact and are less abusive.
An example of this was said to me by a transperson I counselled and it is quite apt. This quote was taken from a conversation about the media selecting sexually ‘non-traumatic’ passable transgender women to be on television, rather than the true often ambiguous (even ‘unattractive’ face) of transgender life.
“It is like a spokesperson for a facial injuries charity looking like a supermodel – people expect a facial injury – if they do not have one how can they possibly understand what it is like to have one or speak for people who do have them? It just doesn’t make sense!”
The Tranerati (or Traneratti) also tend to fall into the ‘elite transsexual’ camp. The whole issue of ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ Transsexualism, coupled with the medical model, gives an added arrogance to people who have taken the medical (and or hormonal) pathway, as somehow being ‘more special’. Even feeling they are actually the ‘real transgender people’ as opposed to those pretending by cross-dressing on the weekends, or not being ‘trans enough’ to seek surgery.
This really is dangerous territory and TransgenderZone.com and a number of other groups with similar views have fought against this attitude for sometime – but as you can probably guess, people who may have NPD traits believe others envy them and write this off as jealousy, when it is not anything of the sort. Tranerati also tend to only mix with other similarly ‘special’ transgender people or cisgender people who can advance them, as opposed to grass-roots activism – unless they are the special guest or ‘celebrity’ appearing to be adored or listened to.
In the link below I have a bio, in the bio I made a spoof video, that demonstrates one of the reasons, that younger transpeople see being trans as an opportunity rather than a disadvantage. The X Factor Mega Selfie is coming for us all. But this is of little use to a family coming to terms with gender dysphoria at 48 who is at risk of losing everything being told they look ridiculous dressed as a woman and use tranerati for comparison,
“You look like a man, not like her (using an example in the media of tranerati) she was meant to be a woman!”
If you think you see yourself in this page – maybe stop and rethink. Reflect, and see if there is a better way to achieve your goals without harming yourself (trans-currency fades quickly and it s a big drop when it does!) or harming others by trampling on their achievements to attain your own. Think networking grid of equals rather than a spider’s web. The only problem is people who have NPD does not necessarily view the world in this logical way. Its their way or the highway!
Twitter and the ‘selfie’ and Warhol’s 15mins of fame has come to fruition. Throw ‘trans-currency’ into that mix and we have a problem!
Samanth Johnson BSc(Hons)Health&SocCareCertMangmntCare.