The Inconvenient Truth about Teena Brandon

Originally published by Carolyn Gage at

“Inconvenient” means “causing trouble or difficulties.” The inconvenient truth of Brandon’s incest history causes trouble because incorporating information about child sexual abuse into the narrative of Brandon’s life pathologizes the transgendered identity adopted by Brandon and for which she has become an icon. This is perceived as disrespectful and transphobic—as an attack on Brandon’s identity and a posthumous attempt to appropriate a victim’s identity.

But the omission of Brandon’s incest history is disrespectful and phobic to survivors of child sexual abuse. It also constitutes a posthumous attempt to appropriate a victim’s identity. As a survivor, I am disturbed by the revisionist histories of Brandon that omit Brandon’s status as a victim of child sexual abuse—and all of the subsequent inconvenient truths accompanying that status.

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