The thin pink line

You may have heard the news a few weeks ago that the first openly transgender mayor, Stu Rasmussen had a complaint filed against him (his chosen pronoun) for inappropriate attire.

I won’t repeat the whole story, the Statesmen Journal, and Feministing (with a counter point) do a good job describing it all. The short, short version is that Stu attended a youth event in high heels, a very short skirt and a revealing halter top. The director of the youth event filed a formal complaint about Stu’s outfit with the city council president. News ensues.

Oregon’s Transgender Mayor

I’ve been stewing on this (pardon the pun), for a while now, quite unsure how to comment on this. On one hand Stu has tremendous courage running for public office as a transgender person. His self expression doesn’t fit within the ‘norms’ of the transgender community. He has breast implants, presents as a woman, and chooses to be referred to as “he”. More genderqueer, and less “crossdresser” or “transsexual”. I’m tremendously proud of the self assurance he has shown to overcome not just the biases of society, but even the labels the transgender community tends to use.

There is not doubt that certain news organizations will jump on any opportunity to reinforce biases. It’s not fair, but it’s the world we live in. Stu showed a lack of judgment when he wore a skimpy outfit to a youth event. Worse, his lack of judgment reflects poorly on all those in the transgender community.

Do We Thwart Self Expression?

Yet for all I’ve said about, it’s a thin line that divides “self expression” from “responsibility to a group”. Society tells us we cannot wear dresses and makeup. Are we just as wrong to deny Stu his right to self expression? Perhaps in fighting so hard for our rights we treat the rights of other’s as expendable.

Tell me what you think. Where is the balance between self expression and group responsibility. Was Stu wrong to wear that outfit? Or are we wrong to get down on our first transgender mayor for his choice of clothes?

En Femme Style

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I’m passionate about creating a safe space for everyone in the transgender community to find laughter and friendship on their journey. I completed my physical transition in 2011 and through it I lost everything, and gained everything. I am blessed that I was forced to gaze inward and embark on the journey to discover and live my authentic self. My deepest wish is that all who wander here may find peace, happiness and freedom.

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Daisy G
Daisy G
14 years ago

The ladies who replied have it right, and I can’t add anything profound on top of what’s been said; just to agree. No question, Stu Rasmussen has stepped way over the line on what’s appropriate for the occasion. It’s hard to believe this is something he does not understand. And that’s the hard part I have about his behaviour. By needlessly calling attention to himself, and surely understanding he’d get some complaints and bad press for so doing, he is setting back the progress all of us have been making toward public acceptance. Is it all that hard for any… Read more »

Carolyn Ann
Carolyn Ann
14 years ago

Back in the 1990’s, and early aught’s, miniskirts were in fashion. Hemlines have gone down a bit since then, but you still see some women wearing miniskirts. Not very often, but I still see it, and I still see ads for miniskirts and dresses in the fashion press. Halter tops are a bit of a perennial. They are also quite difficult to wear. Not technically difficult, but on the wrong body they tend to look a little awkward. If a woman had turned up wearing the same thing, and it looked good on her – she would not be subject… Read more »

Carolyn Ann
Carolyn Ann
14 years ago

Oops. I didn’t notice a couple of grammatical mistooks. “prudes" should read prudes’. LC (Little Cat; she’s a cat… 🙂 ) practically destroyed the apostrophe key on my laptop when she decided it looked like a nice toy. I should also point out that I do not consider anyone except the guy making the complaint a prude. He’s obviously a bigoted prude. The hyphen at “After all – the youth …." shouldn’t be there. It should be a comma. As should the one in “…halter top – and it looked …". Terrible habit, and one I’m trying to break. Carolyn… Read more »

14 years ago
Reply to  Carolyn Ann

You look like a slut, your percieved to be one. What a black eye for those of us who need understanding. This behavior takes some apologising for.

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