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In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we know that the Creature is victim to a society that alienates it because of its difference in appearance. But what does this have in connection with gender and sexuality as described through the eyes of a transsexual individual?

Jessica Rae Fisher, a trans woman writer, voices her journey in finding herself through both Frankenstein and an essay written by Susan Striker within her blog post I am Frankenstein’s Monster: An echo of Susan Striker’s call to action. She speaks about the comparing of transgender people to Victor Frankenstein’s creation and how “[she] was enthralled” when first hearing of the idea. Fisher’s experience with this idea began with her exposure to an excerpt in Striker’s essay, My Words To Victor Frankenstein Above The Village Of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage,  that spoke about “a transsexual woman in Seattle [who] wrote in her journal, ‘I wish I was anatomically ‘normal’ so I could go swimming…But no, I’m a mutant, Frankenstein’s monster'” (Striker, 246). What really stood out to Fisher was the fact that this woman was driven to suicide two months after documenting this thought and it made her wonder, back when she was a 19 or 20 year old reading about it, whether she “would live past 22”. Although she has now surpassed the age she doubted living to, Fisher stresses that the transgender community is yet to be accepted and instead “remain no more than monsters”. Despite this, Fisher clings to other excerpts from Striker’s essay that speak of “asserting [ones] worth as a monster” and “[allowing your] rage [to] inform your actions and your actions transform you as you struggle to transform the world” (Striker, 254).

Now, you may be thinking, “How exactly does this connect with Frankenstein?’. Well, in the same way that Fisher explains what transgender individuals go though when dealing with society, Shelley depicts when writing about the Creatures first encounter with humans. The Creature, abandoned by its creator and left to fend for its own, encounters some villagers of which it frightens causing “the whole village [to be] roused; some fled, some attacked [it]” (Shelley, 98). This treatment of the Creature is similar to that of the woman from Seattle that Fisher speaks about in her blog post when she says, “What drove her to such despair was the exclusion she experienced in Seattle’s queer community, some members of which opposed Filisa’s participation because of her transsexuality”.  Here, although not physically, this woman was attacked like the Creature was at the hands of the villagers. Similarly, Victor abandoned his creation and left it to fend for its own the night he finally succeeded in giving the Creature life, “not [daring] to return to the apartment which [he] inhabited” (Shelley, 61). This mirrors Fisher’s information regarding The Seattle Bisexual Women’s Network when they “announced that if it admitted transsexuals, it would no longer be a woman’s organization” and that “the boys can take care of themselves”. Both this woman in Seattle and the Creature in Frankenstein were left on their own, alienated because of their subjective “differences” to society.

In the end, it is undoubtedly true that we live in a society full of unacceptance and exclusion for all those of which fail to conform to the “norm”. If you are different to what is viewed as “common” what is in store for you is labeling and use of false pronouns and “neopronouns”. However, Fisher makes it clear that what is to be learned here is “we should reclaim the words monster and creature. I think that if the villager want to see us as unnatural, that we should embrace that”. Being different is something that has proven to be difficult, but accepting that you are not “normal” is what will ultimately help you live though it.

– Juanita Espinoza