Tag Archive: transgender


Sexual Identity

 

Image result for frankenstein and monster

In Jessica Fisher’s blog, “I am Frankenstein’s Monster: An echo of Susan Stryker’s call to action” she evaluates Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” through a lens of the gender identity of Victor Frankenstein and the creature. Fisher asserts in the novel Victor is a representation queer, transgender and asexual, pan romanticism in the form intimidation and discreteness they go through. The creature itself is a representation of the emotional and isolation they are faced with in the real world. Victor Frankenstein is unconscious, but through his actions, the reader is able to become unaware of manifestation between Victor and his suppressed sexual life.

At first glance in the novel, the relationship between Victor Frankenstein and Henry Clerval is that of childhood friends which are built with trust and happiness. It is a common belief in society that friends are people who individuals who build bonds and are everlasting. However, through Fisher’s lens of “Frankenstein” an alternate perspective is shown. In “Frankenstein” when Victor departures to the University of Ingolstadt Henry begs his father to allow him to leave with Victor, but is not allowed, “He said little; when he spoke, I read in his kindling eye and in animated glance a restrained but firm resolve, chained with miserable details” (Shelley 51) Victor describes Henry using the words, “kindling eyes”, “animated glance” and “miserable”. Traditional gender roles in the seventeenth century are between a man and a woman, yet Victor begins to show attraction and affection towards his childhood friend. Victor describes Henry through his physical feature at that moment asserting that he had “Kindling eyes” and “animated glance” meaning that he finds Henry charming. These words are usually said to a woman, not a man. Victor exposes his subconscious thought in this particular moment, talking in the second person.  He is hiding sexual identity from everyone, he is attracted to his same gender rather than the opposite, but is afraid of exposing it. Furthermore, he begins to show emotion through the use of a long sentence and sentence structure, semicolons, and commas. As the sentence proceeds the reader is met with first, a semicolon which he states that Henry did not say much and brings the sentence to an untimely stop. Victor than continues after this pause and states three more words than the sentence comes to another stop, having sorrow for his friend. The sentence after begins to flow but continues, but then again comes to another stop. The comas emphasis Victor emotion running high as he struggles to finish a sentence and must come to stop to allow him not to break down. Sadness running through his mind, he can not bear the feeling of departing from his friend, but he is able to leave Elizabeth without having so much emotion. Further, in the novel, Henry visits Victor and finds him very ill and he proceeds to, help him heal the whole winter, “how good you are to me. This whole winter, instead of being spent in the study”(Shelley 64) he was “consumed in a sick room” (Shelley 64) asserting that they both care immensely for each other. Victor is brought back to life by his friend and the happiness that he feels just by seeing him, never does Elizabeth come to his mind. Victor only shining a light on his feelings when he is seen with Henry. Here is were Susan Stryker’s asserts that a person who is transgender life becomes difficult as they are not welcomed and are unsociable in society. Here is were Fisher asserts that “Filisa shouldn’t have faced the loneliness that rejection no doubt brought.” In society many view sexual identity as a mental illness, to which Victor is not willing to sacrifice his straight image in society as he will be met with backlash. Victor keeps his sexual life private and is not willing to expose his affection towards Henry as what awaits is loneliness and rejection. Though his affection towards Henry is seen through the whole novel and the connection to the creature and the purpose of its creation.

Upon the creature being created, we see a sense of confusion with the world and the search for acceptance from any human. He begins to head to Geneva hoping that his creation will understand hand hears what he has to say and ultimately accept him. When the monster begins to tell his story he mentions an encounter he had with humans, a small little girl slips into a stream and is about to drown and he comes to save her, yet the man that she is with sees a “monster” in his eyes and continues to shoot him, instead of acknowledging what he did. The creature then continues to state, “This is the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and, as a recompense, I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound,” (Shelley 125) Full with frustration and confusion as he uses an exclamation mark to emphasis on why did this occur to him, the creature had nothing but good intention. Hoping to be “normal” through his actions, yet finds that it is not possible for him to ever be normal. The creature was hoping to gain acceptance but was left even more emotionally and physically hurt, paralleling with Fisher’s critique of the situation Filisa’s suicide. She asserts that “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 — even though she identified as and lived as a bisexual woman.” Fisher addressing that trans and queer can never be viewed as normal, which creates rage or  “Transgender Rage”. Filisa was doing what she believed to be an environment where she was going to accepted, she was faced with a barrier. Filisa was opposed by others whom she thought would be accepting. As the creature could not understand why he could not be human, he continues to take this experience and leave to Geneva with anger in his mind. A parallel exists as Victor who is the creator of the creature does not accept the creature. Which creates this rage in Filisa and the creature.

Levit Martinez

 

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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

 

In Jessica Fisher’s article, “I am Frankenstein’s Monster: An Echo of Susan Stryker’s Call to Action”, she describes the inevitable perilous lives of marginalized people, particularly, the transgender community. Moreover, she purports that the antidote to this chaotic life is the use of their “transgender rage” -fueled by the reclamation of words used to demean the transgender community-  in a conducive manner to somehow change society. This means of combatting the chaos that transgender people will inevitably face is not only detrimental to the advancement of their cause but also to their personal development.

In Susan Striker’s essay, – which was the inspiration of Fisher’s article- she compares the creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to the transgender body. Both Fisher and Striker use the words “monster” to describe themselves almost as a stand against the oppressive society which will inexorably judge them. “The transexual body is an unnatural body. It is the product of medical science. It is a technological construction. It is flesh torn apart and sewn together again in a shape other than that in which it was born” (Striker p. 238). Furthermore, both Stryker and Fisher use the reclamation of words like this to “fuel their rage” which they would eventually use to further their cause. She states, “For me, it is time to dull the impact these words have when used against us. It is well worth embracing who we are as monsters. It isn’t our responsibility to make the villagers understand or accept us, and maybe, in fact, we can’t.” Similarly, this sentiment is expressed in Frankenstein by the creature, “My feelings were those of rage and revenge. I, like the arch-fiend, bore a hell within me;  from that moment I declared everlasting war against the species, and, more than all, against him who had formed me, and sent me forth to this insupportable misery.”(Shelley, 121).  This is not a tenable solution- as evident in the quote due to the chaotic and menacing nature in which the creature speaks such words- to the chaos which the transgender community will face, this “solution” can only lead to either further alienation of the transgender community or the tyrannous imposition of the admiration of the trans community. In an attempt to showcase the struggle which trans people face in western society, Fisher cites a case where a boy in psychiatric care, who was alienated because he was trans, committed suicide. While this is an evident case of the horrendous malevolence which some people might use against others, the cause of this boy’s death is having more to do with his own reaction and feeling of despair to the alienation which he had faced.

One should seek to adopt responsibility and focus on self-development and not dwell and pity oneself as a cause of life’s various misfortunes. Otherwise, one will fall into the domain of intense tribalism and collectivist ideology which can only result in the alienation of certain groups or the tyrannous rule of other groups or both. Yes, life is treacherous and full of evil fueled by malevolence, Yes, people are oppressed- although not as much as people would like to have you think-, Yes western society is unfair, but one is much stronger and formidable than one would assume. One is capable of being the remedy to their own suffering. One is capable of changing society effectively and incrementally by changing oneself first so that one is able to remain headstrong in the face of any adversity that we will face. The point is that we are all capable of being formidable and tenacious individuals through the adoption of responsibility and a focus on self- improvement.

 

 

 

by Steven Gonzalez

Image result for transgender pain

By Mahealani LaRosa

Reading Jessica Rae Fisher’s I Am Frankenstein’s Monster: An Echo of Susan Stryker’s Call to Action as a female, as a victim of bullying, and as a survivor of sexual, mental, and verbal abuse was very difficult. I could never fathom the idea that I understand the pain that transgender people go through, but I DO understand the pain of the experiences I went through listed above. Although I found it difficult to read, I actually was interested in a lot of the points Fisher and Stryker made. Jessica pushes forward the idea of taking back words like “monster and creature” to describe transgender people. Stryker further emphasizes this idea by going into depth about the real definitions of these words and how people should even be proud to be called these things, even going as far to say “words like ‘creature,’ ‘monster,’ and ‘unnatural’ need to be reclaimed by the transgendered. By embracing and accepting them, even piling one on top of another, we may dispel their ability to harm us” (240). I feel like this is a very crucial idea, especially in modern society. People still use words like “gay” as a negative thing, so there is a lot of work that needs to be done in regards to reclaiming words that were originally slurs and insults and making them positive and affirming instead. Susan Stryker neatly explains this in her essay My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix, saying that “transsexuality more than any other transgender practice or identity represents the prospect of destabilizing the foundational presupposition of fixed genders upon which a politics of personal identity depends” (238). This relates to Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein because one of the most important characters, the creature, is seemingly genderless. Although repeatedly referred to as a man, it seems to have feminine features, and honestly doesn’t’ need to conform to the these “fixed genders”.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Victor Frankenstein does not want to create a female mate for the creature because they would want “children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth” (144). We can assume that in order for the creature to mate and have children with this female creature means that he is a man, and he has male genitalia. However, in modern society, having a penis does not make you a man. This is mostly apparent in cases of transgender people. Women born in a man’s body constantly have to go through people not understanding who they are, mostly based on their genitalia. Genitals do not define gender. The Merriam-Webster dictionary says gender is “the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)” which in my opinion is completely incorrect. Sex is the state of being male or female. Gender is a spectrum, and I honestly believe it is TRULY an individual choice. Gender is whatever you as a singular person want it to be. What Stryker and Fisher are saying is that being a ‘monster’ or ‘creature’ is sort of like a kind of gender, but it also represents being transgender. The LGBTQ+ community is just like any other community, it excludes anything that is found to be ‘too’ different. In this case, it is transgender people. In Frankenstein, it is the creature. In this way, the creature and transgender people are linked. They are a type of gender that is misunderstood and discriminated against. The thing is, the creature does not have to commit to being the man. He is restrained by societies constructed ideas of sex and gender being these strict ideas of only male and female. Stryker says she “want[s] to lay claim to the dark power of [her] monstrous identity without using it as a weapon against others or being wounded by it [herself]”(240), so she is basically explaining how she is going to turn the hate and pain people give her into power and strength. Overall, this is what we should all do. Pain will always be something we internalize, but if we simultaneously reflect inwardly while also speaking out against the inflictor, we create a power that no one can stop.

In regards to the original cover of Frankenstein, I think it has a lot to do with the sexual organs of the creature. The creature is looking downwards at their genitals, as if they are surprised or shocked by what they see. It leaves the viewer questioning gender and sex already. It is also interesting to see the creature hovering over a skeleton while Frankenstein is running away. It is similar to all that we have been talking about. Victor is running from the reanimated life he created while also running from the shroud of death that will follow him for the remainder of his life. He is running from his mother and the creature he made to try to symbolize her. However, in terms of this blog post, it is most important to focus on the part where the creature looks at their genitals in such a stunned way. I wonder what made the creature so surprised…

 

 

 

 

Samantha Shapiro

Jessica Rae Fisher promotes the idea of reclaiming slurs such as “tranny” and “creature” to “embrace…queerness” as an extensional support of Stryker’s desire to “lay claim to the dark power of [her] monstrous identity without using it as a weapon against others or being wounded by it myself,” or accept being a “monster,” and accept the separateness, yet togetherness established in reclaiming the term (Stryker 240). In reclaiming words used against them, they are able to be moved to “disidentification with compulsorily  assigned subject positions” (Stryker 248) and become something else through manipulating the very things that bind them into their monstrous labels.

Fisher purports that they “don’t think there’s any shame in living life in rageful ways,” in doing so helps to transform to conforming to the “priority in living life in compassionate ways” (Fisher). We can see similarities to the stances brought on by Stryker and Fisher through the first meeting of Robert Walton and the creature, and the lack of reclaiming occurring by the final scenes within Frankenstein.

“And do you dream?” said the daemon; “do you think that I was then dead to agony and remorse? — He,” he continued, pointing to the corpse, “he suffered not in the consummation of the deed — oh! not the ten-thousandth portion of the anguish that was mine during the lingering detail of its execution. A frightful selfishness hurried me on, while my heart was poisoned with remorse. Think you that the groans of Clerval were music to my ears? My heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy; and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred it did not endure the violence of the change without torture such as you cannot even imagine.

“After the murder of Clerval I returned to Switzerland heartbroken and overcome. I pitied Frankenstein; my pity amounted to horror: I abhorred myself But when I discovered that he, the author at once of my existence and of its unspeakable torments, dared to hope for happiness; that while he accumulated wretchedness and despair upon me he sought his own enjoyment in feelings and passions from the indulgence of which I was forever barred, then impotent envy and bitter indignation filled me with an insatiable thirst for vengeance. I recollected my threat and resolved that it should be accomplished. I knew that I was preparing for myself a deadly torture; but I was the slave, not the master, of an impulse which I detested, yet could not disobey. Yet when she died! — nay, then I was not miserable. I had cast off all feeling, subdued all anguish, to riot in the excess of my despair. Evil thenceforth became my good. Urged thus far, I had no choice but to adapt my nature to an element which I had willingly chosen. The completion of my daemoniacal

design became an insatiable passion. And now it is ended; there is my last victim!”

Clearly “fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy.”

The creature was “fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy” from its creation, but in it, was externally terrifying to others, and brought into the world by Frankenstein only to fall into “vice and hatred,” (186) unable to withstand a change in itself and desires once rejected and tormented by the humans he was supposed to find happiness under. With the creature being forced into murder and deceit through a “frightful selfishness,” his very own “heart…fashioned of love and sympathy” towards humans shattered, “poisoned with remorse” (186).

A lonely creature

In being created in such a manner, rejected by others just because he was born a certain way, he was “forever barred” (186) from feelings and passions available to seemingly any other living creature, forever separated and isolated from an almost parallel situations of transsexuals rejected from their own communities, as Fisher questions how “social creatures,” or fellow humans, “could ever be expected to take care of ourselves when we are isolated and/or rejected from our communities” (Fisher). The creature then chooses to “cast off all feeling, subdued all anguish, to riot in the excess of [its] despair,” forced to “adapt my nature to an element which I had willingly chosen” by reclaiming itself as a “daemon” through murder (186).

Other selfish drives 

Rather than willingly choose, though, in control of anything, the creature became a “slave…of an impulse which [it] detested,” (186) or forced into trying to reclaim something it truly doesn’t want to turn to, albeit in a selfish drive. In this instance, while the creature appears to try and reclaim its daemonical nature through its rage and suffering, because it does so as “the slave, not the master, of an impulse which [it] detested,” it is unable to truly “reclaim the term” as the creature resolves to do so “using it as a weapon against others” and ends up “being wounded by it itself” (Stryker 240).

Be Your Trueself

In “My Words To Victor Frankenstein Above The Village Of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage” by Susan Stryker, she describes how she can relate to the creature in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. She goes into depth about her own life and struggles she has faced. Stryker says that terms like dyke, queer, fag or slut should be reclaimed by the people being called these names. Jessica Rae Fisher, a transgender woman writes her response to Stryker’s work in “I am Frankenstein’s Monster: An echo of Susan Stryker’s call to action” and agrees with what Stryker has to say and also feels like the creature. She agrees with reclaiming all the terms Stryker uses and wants to add monster and creature to be reclaimed as well.

Not being able to feel comfortable in one’s own body is a struggle we see from the creature of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. The creature discovers that he does not look the the rest of society, but he knows that deep down inside he is a normal person like anyone else. His appearance does not define who he is. Most transgender people can relate to the creature for this reason because they are also unhappy with the bodies they were born with. Some transgender people are lucky enough that they can afford surgery to make their physical body parts reflect how they truly feel. Society has a hard time accepting people who looked/are different from the “norm”, that is why the creature was isolated most of his life because people were afraid of him and labeled him as a monster. Transgender people have a hard time coming out because it can push the people they care about out of their life because they don’t understand. We see this when Victor abandons the creature when it is brought to life, Victor leaves the creature when he needed him the most. This is the same case with some transgender people when they are transitioning, the people they need the most leave them and don’t support them.

Transgender rage is “when the inability to foreclose the subject occurs through a failure to satisy norms of gendered embodiment” (Stryker, 249). This is not bad thing because we see the creature have rage toward Victor for leaving him and making him face the world by himself. The creature’s rage was logical and he had every right to have this. Not being able to fit into society’s norms can be challenging but once you find yourself and know who you truly are society’s norms do not matter anymore because they are a social construct anyways. Society wants to put us all in a box to act/look the same, when we’re all different, “it isn’t our responsibility to make the villagers understand or accept us, and maybe, in fact, we can’t” (Fisher) . We can’t satisfy everyone, so we might as well just satisfy ourselves and put ourselves first.

-Marycarmen Nieto

 

In the image from the original 1831 Frontispiece to Frankenstein, the image depicts a sense of deep horror from the way that Victor Frankenstein and the creature are portrayed. Both are looking towards the creature’s genital and both resemble concern. In a way we can’t be so certain to assume that this creature even had any body parts although throughout the novel he used pronouns such as “he” and “him” to describe himself. Therefore, the sex of the creature remains unknown because as we can see we can’t determine the sex of the creature since neither body parts are shown in the image. Or maybe he had neither sex organs who knows. That’s where “neopronouns” come into play and thus use these “proposed gender-neutral pronouns made to replace singular they” since we can’t identify the creature as either or.

Moreover, in the novel Frankenstein, we realize that deep down the “creature” is a person whom transgender people relate to. Not only is the creature isolated from everyone else, but he doesn’t feel like he belongs in a world where people won’t listen and acknowledge his presence. In a way the transgender community relates to this creature as well because they understand what it means to be isolated from others and judged by people who choose ignorance as a form to describe their hatred as acceptable. For instance, in the novel, the creature asks, “listen to me; and then, if you can and if you will, destroy the work of your hands” (94). This describes how the creature wants to be acknowledged by his creator and accepted for who he truly is. Along the same lines, Victor can’t really understand his creation and thus isolates him from the world which resembles what transgender people go through. People struggle to comprehend transgender people and judge them based on their lifestyle without getting to know them.

Moreover, Jessica makes a remarkable point in her blog post when she argues that instead of wasting valuable time on those who mock and spread hatred she would just ignore. And instead take the power away from those that spread hatred by turning those words into ones that empower herself. As a transgender woman Jessica, explains how instead of feeling exhausted by those who bully her she can simply eliminate that power from them by empowering herself with their words. In other words, she embraces the term “monster” and defeats the villagers.

 

-Guadalupe Andrade

Transgender Frankenstein?

Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Jessica Rae Fisher makes connections with Frankenstein and the transgender community. The main argument point is that the creature’s gender is vague, although some would argue that it is not that vague. The creation is shown as masculine in a majority of the novel, yet it is not definitely defined. All the readers really get is pronouns that the other characters and the narrator forces on the creation. Just as transgender people also get pronouns forced upon them as well. We can see more connections through the novel and transgender people. Victor himself goes through different changes. He goes from wanting to be with his deceased mother, to wanting to be his mother and actually does it. Also his relation to Elizabeth seems to be superficial where it seems he rather be her than with her. Just like transgender people, Victor and his creation were isolated from society and not really accepted. They both seem to be the same, two opposites, just like a coin.

  • Andres Quezada

Reclaiming

Tania De Lira-Miranda

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Throughout history and popular culture, when something new is introduced or invented, it is rarely met with open arms and for some things, the contempt people feel continues years later. Examples of this would be when coffee was first introduced, people shunned the drink as they thought it was getting people drunk and that it caused diseases though now it is thought that coffee might actually be helping people live longer and the Academy Award-winning song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz was almost cut by MGM executives because they thought it to be too long and slow. And this ‘trend’ of hating things right off the bat extends to sexual orientation and gender identity though there have been efforts by those affected to reclaim the hate speech/slurs thrown at them.

Though it may appear at first that the creature of  Frankenstein and a transgender person have nothing in common, if one were to examine the novel more closely, one would see that this is not true. For example, Victor Frankenstein creates the creature, having planned and imagined how the creature would look like but when the deed is actually done, Victor rejects the creature for it is not how he pictured it. (56 – 60) This parallels the experience of when a transgender person comes out to their parents and gets rejected by the latter as they are not the person that their parents want them to be. This sentiment of a transgender person being something similar to Frankenstein’s Monster is echoed by Jessica Rae Fisher, who is actually a trans woman, in her article, I am Frankenstein’s Monster: An echo of Susan Stryker’s call to action and in Susan Stryker, another trans woman, in her article My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage.

In her article, Jessica Rae Fisher talks about how Frankenstein’s creature helped people who are transgender helped some come to term with how to deal with rejection or their experience or even their identity. In the novel, the creature questions their existence with them stating “Cursed, cursed, cursed! Why did I live?” (121) since Victor and other villagers have rejected him. This idea of question one’s existence can be seen in transgender people as “40% of respondents [to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey] have attempted suicide in their life (which is nearly 9 times the national average of 4.6%). (Fisher) The creature affects transgender people because they use them as an identity. Susan Stryker writes about Filisa Vistima, pre-operative transsexual woman, who they could be “anatomically ‘normal’” as she saw herself as “a mutant, Frankenstein’s monster” and the connection to Frankenstein is further solidified as Fisher says that Filisa’s suicide happened because “a community that, truly, treated her the same as Frankenstein’s monster… [as] the villagers still refuse to accept us. We remain no more than monsters” And this is why, Fisher states, the creature’s anger was righteous and why, Striker states, the novel parallels or shows transgender rage.

But both authors talk about reclaiming their hate people have toward them and to use it as an identity. Stryker explains this by saying “I assert my worth as a monster in spite of the conditions my monstrosity requires me to face, and redefine a life worth living…may you discover the enlivening power of darkness within yourself. May it nourish your rage. May your rage inform your actions, and your actions transform you as you struggle to transform your world.” Fisher justifies this by saying how words such as dyke, queer, slut and whore have been reclaimed by those who were insulted by it and that now groups use those words as part of their identity or as a way to identify themselves. They suggest that transgender people should reclaim creature, monster, and unnatural as by embracing it, the impact of those words would lessen.

By Maya Carranza

In  Susan Stryker’s essay and in Jessica Rae Fisher’s response, Frankenstein’s monster is connected to transexual people. As Stryker states, “The transexual body is an unnatural body. It is the product of medical science. It is a technological construction. It is flesh torn apart and sewn together again in a shape other than that in which it was born” (p. 238). Nowadays, many technological advances have been invented in order for individuals to transition from one sex to another. This is connected to Frankenstein’s monster as it was created using different body parts using science.

Both the monster and transgenders are not something society is accustomed to. Frankenstein’s creature was identified as a monster due to is “hideous” physical appearance. Similarly, transgenders are viewed as “odd” and “unnatural”. Stryker even compares the words “fag” and “queer” to the word “monster”. Filisa Vistima, a transexual  woman, was seen as a monster and just like Frankenstein’s monster they were both seen as outcasts. Filisia was treated by her community as badly as Frankenstein’s creature was treated in Mary Shelley’s novel that it led her to take her own life and even she viewed herself differently  as she wrote in her journal, “I’m a mutant, Frankenstein’s monster”

When people transition, are in the process of transitioning, or even question their gender identity, they sometimes prefer being identified as the apposite sex they were assigned or born with. Even in today’s society many people assume other’s gender especially based on physical appearance. For example, an individual who was once a male may now identify as a woman but if she still had male characteristics people would automatically assume that she’s a male rather than a female. This links to Frankenstein’s monster as it was never established whether it was male or female. The only thing indicating that it was male are the pronouns used throughout the novel but perhaps the monster was created with a female genitalia but was assumed to be male based on it’s physical characteristics.

Furthermore, the way one identifies themselves shouldn’t define who they are. “For me, it is time to dull the impact these words have when used against us.” (Fisher). With that being said, it shouldn’t matter whether you are male, female, transgender, a “faggot” or a “monster” because at the end of the day those are just words and they should NOT define a person. We are all beautiful in our own unique way.