Saturday, 19 October 2013

(More Than) A Few Notes For The Trans Ignorant



Journal Entry | 135 Comments · 505 Love It | 4 months ago

- If you have to say "Trans people do/are X or Y", you're probably already off to a bad start. Let's avoid generalizations altogether. But if you must, do a little stress test. If you switch "trans" with "black", "woman", "gay", etc. and your comment suddenly comes across as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., then you're probably saying something transphobic.

- We live in a world that tells us that we are to be reviled. Something shameful and worthy of mockery. If anyone finds a pre-op body attractive, they are considered freaks. I am not allowed to feel good or attractive about my body because it isn't "normal" and still requires "fixing" in society's eyes. Conversely, we often are faced with the other extreme, where we are also coveted because our bodies are "exotic", resulting in people fetishizing us and objectifying us in often degrading and offensive ways. It's liking something different vs. liking something because it's different. We are often bombarded with extreme opposite and alternating reactions of disgust and objectification, with sometimes little in between that approximates treating us like human beings.

- We are in very real danger should our trans identity be revealed to the wrong person in the wrong place or at the wrong time. Do not EVER out a trans person to ANYONE without their fucking consent! This is how you end up with trans women being dragged out of and beaten at a McDonald's. All it takes is one ignorant asshole with a big mouth to turn us into victims of violence.

- It bears repeating! DON'T OUT TRANS PEOPLE! Many people find it completely justifiable to resort to violence upon the revelation that the individual they are speaking to is trans because they feel deceived or duped or assume some sinister motive. This is especially dangerous if the person in question found the trans person to be sexually attractive, as such a revelation can result in extreme reactions due to homophobia and transphobia. Many still refuse to see trans women as anything but men in drag.

- To all you wonderful people who think being gay/queer/whatever is the best thing ever and want to be loud and proud and expect us to do the same: IT'S NOT THE SAME! "I'm gay" doesn't sabotage your identity like "I'm trans" can do to us. It makes people often see us as "not really a man/woman". It makes them think of our genitalia. It makes them look for physical qualities that they can point at and go, "Oh, I can tell because of X or Y." when a minute ago they would have never given those things a second thought! They stop seeing us as merely another man or woman, and instead see us as trans men and trans women. Respect our desire not to have trans lead everything about us.

- Society, gender roles, and even our doctors will pit us against each other. They tell us that they will not accept us for men/women unless we fill some arbitrary (often sexist) condition. Conditions that are all too often outmoded and archaic and no longer expected of cisgender individuals. We are coerced into being held to more stringent standards of what society holds to be manhood/womanhood, holding our gender identity hostage, refusing to acknowledge us until we fulfill it. Something cisgender individuals never have to face. A masculine or butch cis girl is simply seen as a tomboy, and never has her identity as a woman denied due to her gender expression being masculine as opposed to feminine. Yet that is exactly what common folk and professionals alike will often do to a trans person who doesn't fit gender stereotypes.

- Your curiosity isn't a fucking excuse to be invasive about private matters and ask us questions about our transition, genitalia, or other such private information. Before you ask a single question ask us if we would be ok with answering your questions. If we say no, fucking drop it. We live in the age of free information! If you're dying to know so much about what makes us tick, then look it up! You don't need my personal life story to understand proper terminology, educate yourself about trans rights/issues and be a trans ally.

- Since we're on the topic of genitalia and transition, some trans people get surgery, some don't. Some transition, some don't. That makes them no less trans. A woman is no less a woman for having a penis. A man is no less a man for having a vagina. And if you don't believe me, then chop your balls/tits off and tell me if that makes you suddenly consider yourself to be the opposite gender. Some people don't transition due to health issues or even by choice. THEY ARE STILL TRANS!! A gay man doesn't stop being gay just because they've never fucked another man! A trans person doesn't stop being trans just because they've never transitioned! That trans person still has to contend with the dysphoria and psychological brouhaha that the rest of us have to! They have as much need and right to be acknowledged as the rest of us!

- So don't you dare question someones legitimacy when they come out to you as trans because they never did anything opposite to their perceived gender or anything to hint or suggest to you that they are trans! A lot of us live in fear for our very lives and hide our true selves in order to stay alive and have a life. We do this from childhood and get really good at pretending to be that which we are not! Coming out the first step toward saying to people, "I am DONE with this bullshit!" And even then, they may not be stereotypically male/female post transitioning. Some men are effeminate. Some women are butch. That goes for cis and trans alike!

- Don't ask us for our "real name". Our real name is whatever we introduce ourselves as! This also goes for anything else involving our past. Don't hold our previous lives over our heads. Don't hold us hostage to the fact that we weren't born as the gender that we identify. You don't need to know any of that to know us. Far as most of us are concerned the old identity was a farce. A lie. A performance we had to endure in order to survive. We deserve fucking Oscars for the performance! (thanks to Hauptmann_Zieben for reminding me of this one!)

- And because there's always one of you jokers who has to go "if you're XY you're a man/XX you're a woman": see intersex individuals and other such conditions that result in ambiguous genitalia and traits. There exist conditions where the person has female chromosomes but male physical features(including genitalia), and vice-versa. So don't give me that "XY/XX = man/woman" crap!

- "What DOES make a man/woman?" you ask wryly? A multitude of complexities and idiosyncrasies that cannot possibly be reasonably catalogued in any conceivable manner. It comes down to two things mainly: GENDER IDENTITY + SOCIAL PERCEPTION. In a nutshell, transitioning is all about making the world see us as we see ourselves. And no one thing can make that happen. There's no secret code of dress and behavior that will guarantee that society will see every one us as we see ourselves. So it becomes a delicate balance of "selling yourself" in a way, while trying to stay as true to yourself as possible.

- Don't fucking misgender a person on purpose to attack them! I don't care what the hell they said or did! You have no idea how many times I've had to call out otherwise intelligent and sensible people on this because it was aimed at some trans person who was being a massive cuntwaffle! Their behavior doesn't NOR WILL IT EVER excuse you misgendering them! Don't say shit like, "They aren't being very ladylike!" to defend it! Being a jerk isn't exclusive to any one gender! Attacking their gender identity is no more justifiable or excusable than attacking their race or sexual preference just because you disagree or find them offensive!

- Bottom line, if you can't respect a trans person enough to acknowledge them as their gender identity dictates simply because they don't pass well enough in your eyes, YOU DISRESPECT US ALL!

- And to those types who think they're so clever that you "can always tell" when a person is trans, get the fuck over yourselves. You can't. All those you couldn't tell slipped right under your nose because YOU COULDN'T FUCKING TELL! And they sure as fuck ain't telling you! 99% of the time you think you're the only one who can tell, it's because you're the only one who doesn't have the sense to KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT! So stop acting like you're the fucking tranny whisperer!

- Every person in the world has had to figure out for themselves what kind of person they want to be. We are no different in that regard. The difference is our gender identity was constricted during most of our formative years, preventing us from growing in certain ways until we took steps to remedy it. Don't ever try to "teach him/her to be a man/woman". That is for them to figure out what kind of man or woman they want to become!

- Don't guilt trip a trans person because YOU are uncomfortable with them. It's not THEIR fault that you have your concepts of gender identity squarely set in the binary heteronormative box. We aren't responsible for how it makes you feel by virtue of our existence. That's all on you. Your feelings are your own. We are constantly bombarded by people who claim to be friends and family who tell us that things would be so much easier for EVERYONE(i.e. THEM) if we just hadn't had the nerve to rock the damn boat! Because apparently keeping all of this bottled up and repressed didn't do US any damage at all! Hell, some would suggest it a noble act on our part to NOT transition for the sake of the family's peace of mind!

- Don't lump sissies in with us. Sissy isn't a gender identity, it's a subcategory of feminization. A fetish that typically revolves around the idea that men are strong and women are weak and the "taboo" of having those roles subverted. Someone identifying as a sissy is essentially saying that they are a man (or masculine individual) looking to be brought to submission, feminized and humiliated by a strong woman (or feminine persona). Having a sissification/feminization fetish does not a woman make!

- On that note, butch, femme, etc. are also not forms of gender identity. They are forms of GENDER EXPRESSION. There are countless men out there who are butch as well as effeminate, just as there are countless women who are just as likely to be butch as they are to be effeminate. And that goes for cis and trans alike. And that is because these things do not define GENDER IDENTITY.

- Drag Kings/Drag Queens are not by definition trans! It is performance art! And depending on who you ask, opinions vary from it being comparable to "blackface for women" to just being another form of expression. There are many straight cisgendered drag performers out there! DO NOT compare a drag performer to a trans person! One is an act! The other is their life!

- Not to be confused with Crossdressers/Transvestites which are not performers. While some may identify as two-spirited or gender fluid, being a crossdresser in and of itself IS NO INDICATION of gender or sexuality! There's plenty of straight cisgender crossdressers out there! Some people may start out as crossdressers (and even drag performers) before they come to terms with being transsexual. Some may even spend time as crossdressers because they do not have the means or the finances to pursue transition, and thus use crossdressing as an outlet. But just because there's overlap doesn't mean they are correlated or the same.

- No, being a straight dude and finding a trans chick attractive doesn't make you fucking gay! You know why? Up until you found out that she had a penis, you thought she was pretty hot! So yeah, you're still straight! And even if you DID still want to bang her, guess what, you're STILL straight! Cuz that's still a chick you want to bang! See, she's a GIRL. Just one that happens to have a penis!

- And no, you're not a transphobe for not wanting to bang her because she has a penis! You're perfectly entitled to have a preference. Now, if you said or implied that she wasn't a real woman because of it, then yeah, we have a problem, and it's you. And FUCK NO, you're not allowed to go tell your friends about the "tranny" that tried to seduce you because you're embarrassed to admit that found her attractive before finding out that she was trans! That's your issue, and pinning the blame on the person you found attractive simply for being attractive enough to catch your eye isn't just obnoxious and cowardly, it's potentially deadly!

- A lot of this shit goes for other trans people as well! You are not the almighty gender gatekeeper! You don't decide who gets a pass and who doesn't. You don't get to put others down simply because they don't fit your standards, nor in an attempt to prop yourself as the more authentic article. You aren't any better just because you fit into a more traditionally heteronormative binary gender role.


Author: Trans Savage

Note: Since it seems to be the #1 thing people keep messaging me about, I'm going to say that if you want to post it on FB or somewhere else, to at least give credit and leave it unaltered.

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