Shrinking to survive: A former trans man reports on life inside queer youth culture

Originally posted at 4th Wave Now

There is power in naming. It’s how we find each other, how we connect to our histories, how we connect to our futures. Driving us apart from each other is the easiest way to keep us from learning to recognize attempts to redefine our realities.

I didn’t know this then. I subscribed to an incredibly misogynistic set of beliefs for years. “DFAB privilege” was a common phrase in our community – “designated female at birth privilege.” It was accepted fact that being born female gave you a lifelong advantage over a male who transitioned. This included men who used transition only to mean using different pronouns on Tumblr and having an anime girl as their avatar. We believed that, as “dfabs,” we needed to shut up about our petty problems. We could never have it as hard as any “dmab women or non-binary people.” Everyone in the trans community agreed that it was our responsibility to uplift “dmab voices.” None of this seemed outrageous or strange to me; it felt pretty intuitive. Growing up under male domination is a grooming process that leaves many girls and women extremely vulnerable to manipulation.

The first experience that did make me start to feel suspicious of male transition was when I was 18 and a genderqueer-identifying man who had never pursued any kind of transition raped my best friend, a woman unacquainted with insular trans community politics.

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“Gender is not a topic for a bunch of cis people to sit around and theorize about”

Originally posted at Butterflies & Wheels

Gender is not a subject for “cis” people to talk about? It’s only trans people who get to talk about gender? Gender belongs to trans people, and no one else?

Why would that be? How could that possibly be the case? How could anyone think that? What is it about the current state of trans activism that is causing impressionable people to pick up such ideas? How could anyone think that trans people have a monopoly on gender, and only trans people have an interest in it?

Gender oppresses everyone. Gender oppresses boys and men who get bullied for not being tough and brutal enough. Gender oppresses girls and women for reasons I’ve been yammering about since before the railroads were built. Yes it is a subject for us to “sit around and theorize about” – all day long, in all weathers, in any company, whenever we feel like it. It’s not owned or monopolized or incorporated or patented by anyone who gets to shut us out of discussions about it.

A political movement that’s shot through with bullshit has am unhappy future. I hope trans activism can start to do better soon.

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REFUTED: Sex and gender oppression harms trans women more than “cis” women

Originally posted on Tumblr

Claim: Sex-based oppression targets trans women.

No, gender-based oppression affects trans women. Because of the gender “woman.” Females are oppressed based on their sex and the fact that they can get pregnant (and what they have to do to not become pregnant or to end a pregnancy, something trans women do not have to do), gestate fetuses (which puts them at physical risk in all kinds of ways) – also something that males can’t do, as well as give birth (yet more risk), and breastfeed.

Claim: Under patriarchy, women who are unable to bear children are less valued. This affects trans women.

No, trans women are not affected by this because no one expects males to bear children. Additionally, many trans women are fathers before their transitions. 95% of females are capable of giving birth in their lifetimes. THAT is reality for why females are discriminated against and marginalized for not bearing children.

Claim: Women are socialised to be quiet and defer to men and do “women’s work.” This affects trans women.

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Another college student group hosts a violent, transphobic cupcake party

Originally posted at Purple Sage

Remember that time when a college women’s group in New Zealand nearly killed all their trans women students with horribly violent vulva cupcakes? Well, hold on to your hats, because it’s happened again, this time in California, U.S.A! It seems that Scripps College hosted a violently transphobic event called Project Vulva in which participants were invited to….decorate cupcakes and talk about vulvas. As we all know, when a bunch of privileged college students get together to bond over snack foods, trans women literally die.

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The Caitlyn effect

This brilliant satire originally posted at Feminists Unknown’s Blog

Things got tense last night at the Miss America pageant, as one of the early rounds was disrupted by a small group of militant protesters shouting ‘we are sex objects too’ and hurling breast implants at the stage.

Their grievance, which has been brewing for several years, was the increasing dominance of trans women in major beauty contests. According to LouAnn Cray, a spokesperson for Ciswomen for Equal Objectification (CEO), it started back in 2015, when Caitlyn Jenner appeared in a corset on the cover of Vanity Fair and Kellie Maloney posed for another magazine in a swimsuit. ‘People went crazy about how hot they looked, and within a couple of years the pageant circuit was full of Caitlyn and Kellie wannabes. It’s like, when you’re done with your transition and you’re ready to show the world your new self, the first thing you do is enter a beauty pageant’.

And this new breed of beauty queen doesn’t just enter, increasingly she wins. The last three Miss Americas have been trans women, and two of them have been over 40.

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I Am NOT Cisgendered

Originally published at The Huffington Post

I am NOT “cisgendered.” I reject that label. Why? From what I’ve read, “cisgendered” is a label that began in academic discourse as a way of describing people who weren’t trans. But the meaning of it was akin to what we might call “normatively gendered.” That means your gender identity is within a limited range of what society considers to be acceptably “normal.” Normative is a word of negation and resistance. It rejects the boundaries delineated as “normal” by illustrating their discursive construction, i.e. not essential. However, while “cisgendered” operates within a broader language of gender as a means of description, it is also prescriptive and limiting. The reason I place it in quotations is because it sets up a binary that is antithetical to the purpose for which it is employed in popular discourse. If gender isn’t binary, if it is fluid and can transgress boundaries, than a binary between cisgender and transgender cannot exist. If it does, then we must delineate what “real” transgender or “true” transgender means, and who is allowed to inhabit it.

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