Hippodrome Yarmouth allows staff to wear ‘100% woman’ badges

// 31 May 2009

Women working at the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth have demanded permission to wear badges saying they are “100% woman”, to distinguish themselves from the performers in the ‘Lady Boys of Bangkok’ cabaret.

As Monica at TransGriot reports:

Hippodrome staffer Ruth Patterson organized the protest after she heard about the show opening in Brighton. Allegedly a number of women staffers were asked if they were real women. “The Lady Boys may be very, very attractive but I don’t want people to confuse me for one of them.

“I certainly don’t want people in Yarmouth asking me if I’m a Lady Boy – although I am jealous of their fabulous figures.”

I’m guessing that trans women living in Great Yarmouth just love to see the Hippodrome staff walking around with “100% woman” t-shirts and badges on…

Hippodrome owner Peter Jay, who “caved in” and allowed this to go ahead, sounds like a real charmer. He had this to say:

Mr Jay said there had never been an incident of his staff demanding to wear T-shirts or uniforms pointing out people’s sexes in the circus building’s 106 year history.

He said: “You could say it has been a storm in a D cup but it has all blown over now. Maybe my girls can share make-up tips with the Lady Boys before or after the shows.”

A storm in a D cup, hilarious!

Comments From You

saranga // Posted 31 May 2009 at 3:49 pm

Transphobic crap. I saw this in the local newspaper a while back and was furious.

As if saying that they’re jealous of the lady boys ‘fabulous figures’ makes it ok.

Idiots.

SnowdropExplodes // Posted 31 May 2009 at 6:21 pm

It seems to me that the obvious retort is for a trans woman to wear one of those shirts/badges too.

Actually, I’d like a shirt and/or badge like that myself, and would wear it proudly (and as a retort to those other women) because I’m not going to let how I gender myself be determined by what’s in my genes or in my jeans.

karen // Posted 31 May 2009 at 9:47 pm

Can I have a badge that says “100% human being, so sod off narrow minded idiots” on it please? I’ll bet the newspaper morons were laughing and rubbing their hands with glee at this attempt to stir up hate between transexuals and other women. And the priceless bra joke, do me a lemon!

TimT // Posted 31 May 2009 at 11:39 pm

Great sentiment Snow Drop but I believe that you identify as a non-transgendered male? So, No, don’t “retort to those other women” It is not your place to do so.

SDE:

Actually, I’d like a shirt and/or badge like that myself, and would wear it proudly (and as a retort to those other women) because I’m not going to let how I gender myself be determined by what’s in my genes or in my jeans.

Lucy // Posted 1 June 2009 at 3:53 am

Drat, SDE, you beat me to it. As a trans woman I feel completely justified in wearing anything that says “100% Woman”. Because being trans doesn’t invalidate being a woman. I think the women at the Hippodrome should’ve had buttons/shirts that said “100% Bigot”.

Aimee // Posted 1 June 2009 at 7:06 am

… his girls?

Bleugh.

JenniferRuth // Posted 1 June 2009 at 9:24 am

Why do they care if they are mistaken? Does it really matter?

Oh, of course it does…because being trans is “bad”

Qubit // Posted 1 June 2009 at 11:53 am

As a fairly masculine looking cis-sexual woman I have found comments implying that I looked like a man/transvestite (the implication was certainly I was still a man and I hadn’t transitioned to being a woman although drunk lads are not always clear on that) quite upsetting. I know this is a heavily prejudice attitude however I imagine both cis-women and trans-women would be upset by comments along the lines of “I can totally see you used to be a man, you make an ugly woman”, “you shouldn’t have bothered you look ugly anyway” etc.

While I can see how the cis-women’s behaviour encourages transphobia I can also see their fear of experiences transphobic discrimination themselves. I think the first comment on the first link shows what they are afraid of

“jelousy [sic] is what is causing this! im guess that all the staff look like men or they wouldn’t be worried! anyway why is this news? grow up girls its only a show”

The problem is it is easier for them not being transsexual to just deny being transsexual rather than challenge the transphobic attitude. This sadly does contribute to transphobia but I can understand what they fear and why they are behaving the way they are. I don’t think it is necessarily right but I think they see it as being the easiest way. I think the problem is what they fear and how realistic this is. I imagine the Lady Boys of Bangkok would experience quite strong prejudice if they weren’t touring and so stayed in one place living normal lives but I might be wrong on that.

Jess McCabe // Posted 1 June 2009 at 12:29 pm

@Qubit I think that is a good point. I thought about this when writing the post, but didn’t include it because I thought, well, that’s speculation really. But, yes, it was a transphobic response, but it’s all too easy to imagine the gender policing comments that may have inspired the women to do this…

Saranga // Posted 1 June 2009 at 1:08 pm

From the EDP (local Norfolk newspaper) website:

http://www.edp24.co.uk/content/edp24/whats-on/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=WhatsOn&tBrand=EDPOnline&tCategory=WhatsOn&itemid=NOED14%20May%202009%2008%3A45%3A48%3A640

The staff look fairly conventionally female to me…

Jess McCabe // Posted 2 June 2009 at 10:13 am

@Saranga Hmmm… not sure how comfortable I am with the thread turning into a discussion of how conventially female they look… but also, I’m not convinced that it matters, because ‘insulting’ people’s gender presentation is really common, regardless…

Nels // Posted 2 June 2009 at 10:19 am

Without wishing to divert the discussion, the mind boggles as to how stupid Ruth Patterson thinks the people of Yarmouth are.

Because, well, this might just be me making a horrible assumption, but as this show is called “Lady-Boys of Bangkok” then I would make the mental leap that said Lady-Boys (or katoey, if you want to be culturally sensitive & exact) are probably Thai people. Y’know, from Thailand.

So the only possible conclusion I can draw from this are that Ruth is somehow concerned that she will be mistaken for a Thai person. How odd that she feels the need to be reassured of her gender identity in light of this.

Of course, I do not know how many of Ruth’s fellow staff hail from South-East Asia, but one would’ve thought that the percentage would be small enough not to warrant the stupid T-shirts.

Saranga // Posted 2 June 2009 at 11:47 am

@ Jess: I did not mean to turn it into a thread of how female they look. I provided the link in response to Qubit’s comment about getting comments in regards to her masculine appearence.

I agree that the perception of an individual’s gender appearence shouldn’t matter, and that it could then be a slippery slope to judging the value of someone dependent on how gender-conventional they look. This would be a bad thing.

However I thought the link was relevant in terms of how likely the women were to experience transphobia on an everyday basis. When discussing transphobia is it relevant to discuss how well someone (cis or trans) passes? Although, noted, by starting to do that maybe I would be starting on the slippery slope I described above?

This is tricky in my mind. It probably shouldn’t be, it probably should be straight forward. Maybe this is me not being able to get over my ingrained conventional/cis/sexist values?

Saranga // Posted 2 June 2009 at 12:39 pm

With regards to passing, I’d just like to add that I realise that how well someone passess will affect the type/level of/frequency of transphobia they experience. I do recognise that focusing on how well someone passes completely misses the point of the fact that transphobia is wrong, and by focusing on the level of passing you don’t begin to examine or deconstruct why transphobia exists, or work out ways to stop it.

Jess McCabe // Posted 2 June 2009 at 1:00 pm

@Nels I think that pre-supposes that the comments they were getting were genuine inquiries, rather than transphobic responses to the show coming to Yarmouth

Qubit // Posted 2 June 2009 at 1:31 pm

I didn’t mean to imply the comments given were ones I had received however ones I thought it might be likely for either a transwoman or someone mistaken for a transwoman to receive in a more threatening atmosphere. I am sorry if my comment was misleading in that.

In an environment like a Lady Boys of Bangkok showing I would expect some curious comments even to the most feminine looking women. Sadly I would be unsurprised if some of these turned to insults particularly from people outside the venue. While I think those who are watching the show are likely to have some degree of politeness I wouldn’t be surprised if once outside the venue drunk people screamed quite nasty comments.

Sadly the women involved have reacted with fear but insults to a woman’s appearance are often used as quite a strong weapon and in a way these women have no way to neutralise that. In many ways an insults of that degree are irrelevant to the woman’s appearance.

Similarly while there is no real insult intended in asking in the venue if you are a cis or transwoman (although it is inappropriate to expect a stranger to tell you) I can see how a woman would feel challenged by this since a lot of self value if often put on looking feminine and it is incorrectly assumed that being a transwoman means you don’t look feminine.

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