fuck all you cis folk for trying to force apologies out of trans folk when we express our anger, frustration and fear as a result of your words and actions.
I recently was asked to apologize / ‘called out’ for making a trans guy feel bad.
Dear trans guys: Do not do this shit. Just fucking don’t.
I’ve railed against the “transgender narrative” a number of times in the past few months without giving a proper explanation of what it is.
Either every single word you use in whole paragraphs of this post has an entirely different meaning that I’ve never heard before, or you’re using a weird double standard to undermine the legitimacy of “the trans narrative” you disagree with.
I mean, if your criticism of “I’ve always felt like a girl” is that it’s based on an external identification, how do you turn around and say we should focus on “not belonging as boys”? Isnt’ that every bit as much an external identifier, and arguably more so?
I don’t actually need another girl to point to say that I feel like a girl. I do need a whole class of boys to define myself against in order to say that I don’t feel like one of them.
How would you label what you experience “sex dysphoria” without resorting to externalities in the first place? I don’t understand how that would happen. If you were alone in a void, the only person on earth, and you raised yourself and had no language that you had not constructed for yourself and no thoughts that didn’t originate with you, how would you explain yourself to yourself?
We can’t define ourselves without resorting to things outside ourselves, and in that regard, all identities are circular and fuzzy. The idea that there’s something particularly so about the trans* female identity is an example of how pernicious and prevalent transmisogyny is. And if you’re going to tell me there’s no such thing as transmisogyny, then I hope you have an alternate explanation for how you set your brain to write this post where you proclaim that “I’ve always felt like a girl” must be false because it’s based on externalities and we should focus on “I’ve never felt like I belonged as a boy” as if that’s a thought that can possibly arise from within.
But what’s the alternative? To keep pretending that we are the same as women? That biology doesn’t matter? That being raised as males and spending a significant portion of our lives walking the earth as boys and men doesn’t change us?
The alternative is to reject the binary.
No, not *that* binary, but the false dichotomy that has you believing that if biological sex isn’t the beginning and end of everything then it must be nothing (and clearly it’s not nothing, so it must be the beginning and end of everything), that being raised in a society that views us as males either has no effect or is the most important formative thing of our lives with an effect on our lives and psyches that’s essentially identical to that of men (and clearly it would have some effect, so we must be basically men, full of male entitlement).
Drop that idea… I’m not even saying change your basic ideological positions on these questions, just for now, drop the idea that it’s got to be one or the other… and maybe you’ll notice that the people you see as trans ideologues aren’t as extreme as you believe we are. We only look that way because you assume if we’re not in position 0 with you, we must be at position 1 at the far end of the universe. Because that’s how binary works. It doesn’t allow for anything other than absolute extremes.
I mean, what does “the same as women” even mean?
Am I the same as you? I mean, we’re both trans. If we sat here and listed off everything about ourselves, how much of it would be “the same”? Even if we just restricted ourselves to things that seem really relevant to the experience of transness, we wouldn’t be “the same” in an absolute sense.
There are cis women out there I have more in common with than I do with you and there are trans women out there I have more in common with than I do with you. None of us are “the same” in an absolute sense… cis women aren’t all uniformly the same even in their experience of being cis.
If you would ditch this false binary you cling to, maybe you could understand that none of us are saying we’re all “just the same”… we’re saying that we’re all women, for whatever differences we have.
To me, aunty orthodox’s desires for trans people to adopt the kinds of narratives she describe strikes me as dishonest. Or at least, adopting those narratives would be dishonest. If I tried to reconstruct my history in such a manner, I would have to lie extensively about my own history, both through omission and commission. And I mean, I admit I had periods of rather intense “I am definitely not a boy” to go with the “I am definitely a girl.” Both are valid, but neither of them should be mandated by someone else’s agenda. My agenda is to be honest about my own life, not try to force it into someone else’s preferred version of what trans lives should look like.
I think superficially looking at common transgender narratives in a critical sense sounds like a good idea, but in reality what it amounts to is interrogating people about whether or not they really had the life experiences they say they do. In essence, placing someone else in the position of being an expert on our lives.
This doesn’t mean there is no room for a critical perspective, but rather that such a perspective has to account for the fact that we’re talking about real lived lives, and theories about those lives need to fit the facts of those lives, not the facts that the critic would prefer to be the case.
In any event, I don’t think trans acceptance or trans existence needs to be contingent upon having an approved narrative or not.
So, recently this article was posted about a Leather Title now being limited to cis gay men only when it used to be open to trans men who were gay as well. The director, or person who is quoted in the article (and says some pretty shitty things there) has made some posts on facebook about this that I’ve wanted to bring up.
So, this is quoted from Jeffrey Payne’s facebook:
At this time, I am speaking as Jeffrey Payne, not as a Board Member of ILSb-ICBB. So here goes:
To those that have emailed me threats of physical harm to myself and/or my family, you need to cease immediately. You have taken this way too far and the next one I get will be dealt with by the authorities. Passion is one thing; fanatical behavior is another.
To those who have emailed me with statements of my being “the Hitler of the Leather Community”, “the Grand Dragon of the Leather Community”, a ‘bigot’, a ‘transphobic fuck’, etc etc etc and cursed me up and down the wall, without ever asking for more insight than what you read in an article through the media, and yet promote yourselves as the sane and justifiable ones need a reality check. Not one of you that has taken the lynching route have asked for more information or have asked for a civilized conversation. Not one. Not a single one.
To those of you whom I consulted with before ILSb-ICBB decided to make the change and were onboard wholeheartedly, only to pull your support and jump on the lynching bandwagon when you saw the public lynching of me and my family, your day will come.
For those that doubt my support of the transgender community, obviously you have no idea of who I am as a human being.
But in all of this, I have heard you (through all the crap, I can still pick out the reasonable voices) and I have called a board meeting for Thursday evening to discuss this issue further. Until then, there will be no more public statements by myself or the other members of the Board. At this point, I will not engage in an intelligent conversation with those who refer to me as any of the items stated above.
Your Leather Brother,
Now…this guy is behaving like a transphobic fuck. He’s either saying that trans men are not men enough, or he’s saying that trans men can’t be gay. Either way, not cool. Based on what he said, it is safe to conclude he’s being a bigot. I think he’s also being an ableist asshole (I like alliteration), and racist as well. Or at least I think so…I mean, using lynching in that way is kinda racist, right?
There’s a bunch of comments on that status which are all “omg Jeffrey! This is so sad that these assholes would say such mean things!” There’s even this one:
All sounds silly and juvenile in all dirrections. but you have to give kudos to the term transphobic.. Thats cute! Luv your favorite old baldheaded tranny wannabe, Roxanne the man
Lovely, somebody uses a transmisogynistic slur (difficult to determine how this person IDs but appears to be a drag queen), and makes fun of trans people calling somebody out.
Another poster who previously posted and made a spelling error:
Sorry about the misspell I’m still on the short yellow bus lol!!
Then there’s like 70+ comments of support, and talking down on trans people.
More on that shitty situation for leather trans* men I linked to yesterday. I love transphobes who make fun of the concept. It’s so refreshingly arseholish.
Looking beyond the massive (ableist, classist, racist, etc) stereotyping within universal female/male socialization
Looking beyond the obvious flaws in claiming that socialization can’t change (as how Toni put it)
Looking beyond the absurdity of ignoring the myriad ways that socialization can change just from being trans and your mental associations between you and your role models (and who they are, also what social messages you receive)
No the thing that cracks me up the most is that those of us in the US and Canada and the UK (where radscum are most prominent) live in a society where breaking out of the gender molds is socialized against in every way possible.
Like, not only are we socialized not to do things associated with a birth sex designation we don’t have, we are especially all socialized never to go against that birth sex designation in extreme ways.
Transition is literally defying your socialization.
You are literally going against the grain of everything that society has told you that you are allowed to do, that it is okay to do, that you must be gender and sex designation wise.
You are shattered socialization from a very young age into adulthood that your gender must be rigid, it must align with the body structures that society marks as associated with said gender and it must never ever be threatened by your actions (nor the overlying system). And I use gender as a multi layered term there. Not just self comprehension/gender existence but also your gender expression, your gender labels, your social placement. None of it is allowed to shift, change or deviate.
Yet trans people deviate from that to extremes. Just think about this for a second. Everyone is socialized to think it disturbing for a person with a penis and XY to get on hormones and grow breasts and modify her penis to be a vagina. Even more disturbing is the person who does the same things but keeps her penis.
If socialization was rigid and unchangeable, if people could never drop their socializations (forgetting that socialization changes radically for women and men across so many lines), then it would be mentally impossible for trans women especially (and other trans folks as well) to transition in any way shape or form.
So by existing, folks, we destroy the radscum argument utterly. By the simple fact of our presence, their foolishness as shown for the absurdity it is.
Just that alone destroys the socialization argument.
All the other flaws too, but that alone obliterates it.
So, earlier today, in a relatively short period of time, I watched someone unironically use the argument that trans women are not women because they were socialized as men, and that as such, they cannot ever be anything other than men.
They also applied it to trans men, indirectly.
Specifically, these were the uses of the concept:
You cannot transition out of your socialization, just like you cant transition into male privilege.
Your socialization dictates that what you say goes, men dominate, and push their way into female spaces.
Now, most trans folk tend to fall for these arguments. They are, for the most part, still dealing with a lot of the internalized shame and stigma that is hurled at them, and this is a fairly common, very old argument that presupposes, at its core, that one cannot change because of their socialization.
Indeed, in the second example, that’s even made explicit.
Now here’s the problem:
A woman said those things. Well, actually, I say a woman because she claims to be a woman, but as I’ve seen no evidence of it, I’m merely giving her the basic dignity to which she is entitled by respecting that claim of hers — and I’ll note I’m doing so despite being called a man, white, and a few others choice things, all of which are false.
Which I realize is a bit of a derail from the point, but is one of those little jabs that I occasionally have to get in with a bit of glee.
In any case, as a woman, she was socialized as a woman. She was socialized that if I am a man, she is supposed to shut the hell up and not argue with me. She was socialized to not make waves, to be more interested in finding a good man than living a life that is her own construction. She was socialized to see her job as being a woman and as being a mother, and she was socialized to look for the prince.
Yet here she is not doing those things.
Here she is actively defying the very socialization that she is saying that one cannot defy.
In feminist discourse, what she’s arguing is that Structure (in this case, patriarchy) is so powerful that it overrides the ability of a trans person to have Agency, while she, in turn, retains that Agency for herself and is able to actively use it to resist the power of Structure.
WHen I pointed this out to her earlier, I was informed of several falsehoods by her and another person about myself, which essentially amounted to them deciding for me what my state of being is — that is, not affording me the basic core precept of dignity, and, instead, acting in a manner that is directly oppressive and that seeks to decide, for me, regardless of any other reality outside their own narrow viewpoint, that I am what they say I am.
Now, forgive me, but I’m trying really hard to think of a time when someone else gets to decide for you what you are that doesn’t involve violating your human rights.
I’m sure if I think on it long enough I’ll come up with a really complicated case.
This, however, isn’t it.
When you see radfems, in specific, using that argument, remember that they are, themselves, going against the very socialization that they are speaking about, and if they can go against, then there has to be some other reason for someone else not be able to do so, unless, of course, they are trying to police the lives of other people.
When you see conservatives doing it, remind them that socialization means they wouldn’t be speaking out themselves, because we in america are socialized to hold up as heroes those who undergo the arduous task of self empowerment and become whole persons — we hold people who rise the fullness of their potential as architects of the future.
It probably won’t work, but it gives you a head start.
In any case, here’s the simple truth: the way people are socialized does have an impact on how they live their lives and it does influence their decisions and their experiences. It doesn’t make those decisions for you, and it cannot stop you from being yourself if you are strong enough — if you have the personal Agency enough — to defy it.
The act of Transition — an act that trans people have to undertake against tremendous odds and that typically has enormous personal, emotional, and spiritual costs — is an act of Agency, an effort that, in and of itself, is absolutely concomitant with the act of overcoming the very socialization that they speak of.
In practice, I point out that transition is only about 10 to 20% physical. And that part takes time — a lot of time, really, but most folks with means concentrate on the first three years or so.
The rest of it, and the part that is the hardest, is the social part, and a major reason that it is so damned hard is stuff like this spcialization argument, and the real, measurable tangible harm that comes from being told you are not a woman, you are not a man, you just have a mental illness and related aggressive, violent statements made for the express purpose of causing emotional and mental harm to another person.
The person who said those things is a serial abuser. Abuse was their response to me when I pointed out the problem — which isn’t hard to figure out, really, given that it is about the least feminist statement one can make — and abuse is what they hurl at other trans people.
I’m sharing this so that the next time you see someone use the socialization argument against anyone, you can point out to them the core flaw there: they are part of the same system that socializes themselves.
I received this on a dating site I am on from a cis woman who thought she was being funny.
THE FUCK IS TRANSGENDER MEEN DOES THAT MEEN U USED TO HAVE A WANG AND NOW YOU DONT OR R U GONNA GET U A WANG OR WHUT LOLOLOL??!!
I’m totally kidding. I just thought you should have the completely parody-like reaction to your transgender statement, just in case it hasn’t ever happened before. I mean, I’ve seen that shit in movies but I always figure humanity’s not THAT backwards and retarded anymore. Except that they are and I hate them. So maybe you shouldn’t tell me if it has actually happened for real.
She then went on for another 5 paragraphs of trying to be polite and get me to respond and go on a date with her.
How the hell does she think that’s funny? That’s just bog-standard reaction coupled with her lack of awareness of the reality for trans people. Every trans person I know on a dating site can recite variations of just that kind of message they’ve received only without any attempt to be funny.
Note to cis people: If your humour involves repeating something trans people experience all the damn time, it’s not funny. It’s not ironic. It’s just shitty. On the other hand, it does let trans people know to stay the hell away from you and never date you.
(Also not digging her ableism.)
In the past 6 months or so there seems to have been quite a spike in people asking me, and others in my immediate circle, about hormones and surgery. It’s often preceded by “Can I ask you a personal question?” or “I’m not quite sure how to say this, but…” That makes it clear that people are aware that what they are about to say might be considered rude but aren’t sure how else to ask. So here is a quick guide to help.
Rude Ways to Ask About Hormones and Surgery
- I’m just curious, have you had “the surgery?”
- I’m surprised how you don’t look very different from other people of your gender, how long have you been on hormones?
- I just can’t stop thinking about it, can you tell me what your genitals look like?
- Can you give me details about your body that I can use to further my pet theories that invalidate your experience of your gender?
- I’d like to imagine what it would be like to have sex with you, can you tell me more about what you look like naked?
- In order to maintain my belief that there’s a huge gulf between what a man is and what a woman is, I really need you to confirm for me that it took unnatural and extreme measures for you to look that way.
Of course some of the above examples are what people appear to mean rather than what they might actually say. You may notice that what makes these rude is less about the information being asked and more about why you are asking. Personal curiosity is rarely a valid justification for asking about sensitive and private medical information and details about a stranger’s genitalia. Think it through - if you are in a context that would be rude to ask a cis person about their genitals, it’s probably rude to ask trans people as well.
The key to asking without being rude is having a valid reason for asking and stating it clearly so that the person you are asking does not have to wonder. Look at the below examples and see if you can spot the difference
Ways to Ask About Hormones and Surgery Without Being Rude
- I have a strong desire to transition myself, but thinking about it makes me nervous so I have a hard time doing research online, since you are a friend of mine could you tell me about your experience with transitioning?
- I’m a doctor working with a trans patient and am woefully underprepared by a cissexist medical training system, would you be willing to share your knowledge with me as a paid consultant?
- The doctor would like to know what medications you are on and if you’ve had any major surgeries in the past 3 years so that we can make sure it won’t lead to complications with your current medical care.
- I don’t actually need to know about your experience personally, but since you are the professor in my sexual health course, could incorporate trans experiences of health and sexuality into your curriculum?
- I happen to have a bunch of quality dialators, binders, gaffs, packers, and breastforms hanging around, if you could use any, let me know.