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Trankila (2003)

Trankila (2003)

©2003, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (2003, Spring). A word from the editor: Trankila. Transgender Tapestry, 101, p. 6.

Thanks to our brilliant designer, this issue came together as I envisioned. The issue is filled with educational flyers from a variety of sources, each of which could be easily torn or razored out, duplicated, and dispersed. It’s a concept called Distributed Gender Education, the brain child of Jessica Xavier.

For recent information about Trankila, view this link.



 By Dallas Denny


I first saw Trankila at Southern Comfort 2001. She was, shall we say, different. It wasn’t the DayGlo blue and orange wigs she favored that made her distinct in the midst of more than 500 crossdressers and transsexuals; rather, it was the fact that although she was dressed en femme, she sported a full beard.

This community has a history of being freaked out by male crossdressers who don’t shave. One conference, in particular, was famous for its “no facial hair” rule. Those who didn’t shave were not only not allowed to participate; because they didn’t exemplify the Phyllis Schaffly ideal of womanhood favored by the conference’s organizers, they were dressed down, told they were a disgrace.

To Southern Comfort’s credit, and to the credit of the March 2002 IFGE conference, which Trankila also attended, no issue was made of Trankila’s facial hair–although she told me some attendees had approached her nervously to find out what was with the whiskers. Many conference attendees seemed to look through her or discussed her behind her back. I saw few people taking the time to talk to her.

At Fantasia Fair, however, Trankila quickly became just another of the girls. She was accepted by the attendees, so much so that she won the Ms. Cinderella award.

Fantasia Fair is an intimate event; its leisurely pace gave others time to discover that Trankila was intelligent, charming, articulate, and a lot of fun. They also learned the reason for Trankila’s facial hair—her partner preferred she keep it. Trankila made friends—myself included.

Our community is about nonconformity to gender stereotypes. We chafe when those stereotypes are applied to us. We must not show the same lack of sensitivity and compassion to those who don’t meet our own expectations.

If your first reaction on seeing our cover was negative, keep in mind that in all likelihood you engender the same response in others. Not a pleasant feeling, is it?