This Month, I have taken the time to write up a few different posts about different marginalized identities within the LGBTQIA+ community on my personal Facebook Account(s). I am going to aggregate them here.
I will probably add some more, as I am apt to Rant.
On Non-Binary Identities
So, had a conversation with a friend this morning that sparked these thoughts that I thought All Y’all could use.FYI: Non-Binary is an umbrella term that includes a LOT of different identities, so, if you are not sure, err on the side of caution.
Like Wil Wheaton says “Don’t be a dick.”On Pronouns and Non-Binary identities:Non-Binary is not:
1) Man-Lite or Woman-Lite
2) A third gender.
It is literally everything except for 100% woman or 100% Man, however, there can be overlap (ie people that are a non-binary trans woman or man)
3) “It,” is not an appropriate gender-neutral pronoun to use for ANY TGNC person, unless it has told you that it uses it pronouns. “It,” has been used as a slur to other and minimize us, treat us as less than, and make us feel sub-human. Just Don’t, unless that person specifically tells you that they use “It,” Pronouns.
4) Non-Binary People are not “confused,” or switching from one gender to another. There are Genderfluid people whose identity may shift, but it is a fluid thing (hence the name).
5) Just because someone is presenting more “Masculine,” or “Feminine,” that does not mean that their pronouns change, UNLESS they tell you to use different pronouns.
1) There are people that use They/Them pronouns exclusively, some use Neo-Pronouns (Ze/Zer, Ze/Zir, Fae/Faer, etc.) exclusively, some use any pronouns (except “It,” Unless explicitly told that they use “It,”), there are people that use the pronouns of their AGAB (AGAB=Assigned Gender At Birth) and others, or exclusively the pronouns of their AGAB.
2) If you do not know someone’s pronouns, They/Them pronouns are the way to go, but once you know the person’s pronouns and they are not They/Them, using They/Them is misgendering.
3) Some Non-Binary people do not use any pronouns. They use their name as their pronoun.
4) Some Non-Binary people use multiple sets of pronouns. That does not mean that you pick one and run with it and never deviate from it. If a person uses He/Him and They/Them, don’t just grab onto the He/Him and exclusively use it. When you do that, you are pushing a person that is outside of the gender binary box right back into it.
4a) This is one of the BIGGEST complaints that my Non-Binary friends bring up to me that people do. It is not just some of them, either. It is Every Single One of Them that uses multiple sets of pronouns.
5) Pronouns are not “preferred,” (same with name) for the majority of trans people. There are people that have preferred (in my experience, this is going to be more likely from a person that does not experience dysphoria, but not always). That terminology is hurtful and misleading. It gives the impression that my pronouns are optional…they are not.
Rant incoming from your friendly neighborhood trans mom:
/rant on non-mono sexualities (Bigotry, erasure, and fidelity)
This is your reminder that Bisexual, Pansexual, Omnisexual, Polysexual, etc. sexualities are not inherently transphobic or enbyphobic. While some people with those sexualities may be, the sexuality itself is not transphobic. To quote the Bisexual Manifesto “Do not assume that bisexuality is binary or dougamous in nature; that we must have “two” sides or that we MUST be involved simultaneously with both genders to be fulfilled human beings. In fact, don’t assume that there are only two genders.”
While this is only Bisexuality and there are differences between the identities, this statement (written in 1990) stands for all of them. There may be bigoted people of each of these sexualities, that does not make the sexuality itself inherently bigoted.I have honestly had as much (if not more) acceptance and support from Bi/Pan/Omni/Poly/etc. people once I figured out who I was. I am in a long committed and monogamous relationship with a Bisexual woman, and some of my closest friends and staunchest supporters are bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. people.
Just like Non-Binary and ASpec people, bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. people get shunted to the side, minimized, and shuffled away.If a bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. person is in a straight passing relationship, their queerness is questioned, or forgotten completely. And if they are in a same-gender relationship, then people just think that they are gay/lesbian.
If I (or you) am single, my sexuality does not diminish or disappear, so a bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. person in either of hose relationships does not lose the non-mono portion of their sexuality. Also, you do not get to dictate someone else’s sexuality, period. If someone tells you they are not straight or gay, even if their relationship makes you think otherwise, believe them. They know themselves a lot better than you do.
In addition, they are not “Confused,” or “Greedy.” If you know that you are into only *gender*, or only *gender*, my saying, “Well, you haven’t tried it, so you just haven’t found the right *insert gender here* yet,” isn’t going to make you go, “Oh! You’re right! I am now sexually attracted to the gender that I have never had any attraction to before! Thanks so much for pointing that out!”
How ludicrous does that sound? How likely is that to happen? About as likely as you saying asinine crap like that to bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. people.
Bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. are not inherently cheaters, despite what a lot of people like to say. My guess is they have either been cheated on by a person who was bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. in the past, or they are a cheater, and they can’t comprehend that someone who has so many options could possibly control themselves. That sounds like a you problem, not a them problem.
Also, there are Asexual Bisexual people, checkmate, dinguses.
This is it, right here. Your “Acceptance,” of me or my gay as hell relationship that is to use me as your “We are inclusive, see, here’s how,” or fetishization of me is just a go the fuck away. I get a lot of messages from chasers, and that is not acceptance, that is them thinking of me as a “Tra**y,” or a “Best of both worlds,” type of situation. Just NO. Shoo. I am not your kink, (the majority of) trans women cannot, or do not want to top you, or want anything to do with you. Your feigned acceptance to use me (and people like me) as a toy and then make jokes about me or use slurs to describe me is known and will not be tolerated.
~~~Tweet from Twitter User @FoxxyGlamKitty. Profile Picture is of a BIPOC Person with Black hair and a black shirt, with a sly smile.Tweet Reads: I dunno who needs to hear this during Pride Month but exploitation, fetishization, and objectification are not the same as acceptance and that is not what our queer elders fought for lol.
On Rainbow Capitalism
If companies really wanted to support LGBTQIA+ People, they would donate to the campaigns of local politicians that are working to get our rights restored and cemented.
But they won’t. Because that is work. Putting a rainbow as their profile pictures and saying “We stand with you,” or “Love is Love,” or “Protect trans kids,” on their corporate Twitter account is about the most they are willing to do.
If you are going to buy Pride swag, support small queer artists. That way you will actually support the LGBTQIA+ community, not helping to buy another yacht for their execs.
Jeff Bezos and the Waltons don’t need another Lambo, but that gay kid that you see selling his art on Etsy, or the trans girl that makes kickass stickers could really use that to cover rent after their parents kicked them out for telling them who they were.
This is great! And by the way, the Olympics has allowed #TransAthletes to compete since 2004.How many of them have medaled, you may ask? Zero. That’s right. They have not medaled in any sport. In addition, the average trans woman (on HRT) has less testosterone than the average cis woman. I can tell you that within a couple of months of going onto HRT, my upper body strength decreased significantly.
Tomorrow is #Juneteenth. Yt people, put your money where your hashtags are.Send a few bucks to the Black organizers in your area, friends of yours that are Black, or Organizations that help Black people (Such as Bail funds [https://bailfunds.github.io]).Send some reparations to people that can actually use it. Tweeting and sharing #BlackLivesMatter is great and all, but are you:- Educating yourself and your yt friends and family?- Holding your racist family and friends accountable?- Showing up for your local Black community? – Going to protests (when you can)? – Not making the Black people in your life do the heavy lifting in your relationships with their emotional labour?- Doing anti-racism work on yourself so that you don’t continue to make their lives harder?- Donating when you can?- Signal Boosting your local Black orgs, organizers, and activists posts?- Sharing #BlackJoy, not just trauma and death? – Giving time, space, love, and support to your Black friends?- Not making your Black friends edit themselves because of your Whyte Fragility?- Not tone policing the Black people in your life/circles?If you aren’t doing these things, and are just sharing posts that point out the things that they know already, then, I hate to break it to you, but you are not the ally you think you are. #sorrynotsorry
If you are local to the #CapitalRegionNY, give to these organizers, if you are not sure where else to send your $$$
Found in one of my groups. This book is Gatekeeping, bigoted trash. DO NOT READ IT!In fact, please give it 1 star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon .The author probably means well, but trash like this does way more harm than good, especially from someone that is not a member of the LGBTQIA+ community (from her blog “a middle-aged cisgender, heteronormative, white female”). Gatekeeping from the medical community, politicians, and our own community is bad enough.
We DO NOT need to allow people that (seemingly well meaning) think they are allies, but are misinformed, and are using their voices and privilege to speak over us, and reinforce offensive tropes.I also doubt that her child was asked if it was ok to publish his deadname in a fucking book!
If she had actually asked the local LGBTQIA+ community in rural Idaho what they thought, it probably would have been shut down…if she had actually taken their experience into account.
THIS BOOK IS EXTREMELY PROBLEMATIC, BEWAREI don’t even know where to begin with this steaming pile of garbage. I found this book while looking for a non-fiction book on queer issues for a book group I am in (book group focuses on social justice issues). I will admit that I did not finish this book (and as a matter of fact, I didn’t even finish reading the introduction after reading the passage in the second picture). The author starts out by talking about why she wanted to write a book: supposedly to help other parents of queer folks. After talking about her son who is gay, she starts talking about trans issues. She says that her eldest son changed his name (she notes that he is not trans), and talks about how he specifically told her that he didn’t ever want to be called [deadname] ever again. SHE THEN REFERS TO HIM AS [DEADNAME] AT LEAST A DOZEN TIMES OVER THE FOLLOWING PAGES. Not only are you deadnaming your own child, but then you PUBLISH IT IN A BOOK?!Then I read the passage in the picture below and decided to put the whole book in the recycling. I will not be donating it anywhere. The world does not need this kind of garbage.
It’s literally the least you can do. Seriously. The smallest, most minute, most insignificant significant thing you can do.Using the right name and pronouns is suicide prevention. If you say you love someone, and then don’t even attempt to use their name and pronouns, you are telling them, that no, you do not love them. You love a version of them that you want them to be, and you are not helping them bu ignoring who they are.You are attempting to shove them back into a box with knives, broken glass, hydrochloric acid, and scorpions that they, against all odds, forced their way out and can finally breathe. It is violent, visceral, and an attack on their very being.I don’t care if you “Don’t agree,” you are being violent and harmful, and if they cut you off, that is why.
Shoutout to my trans and non-binary siblings that are not out to anyone but themselves, that aren’t changing their name/pronouns, that aren’t medically transitioning, that don’t bind or tuck, that don’t have dysphoria, that don’t wear makup (or do), that don’t change their clothing style, and/or are not sure what their gender is yet.Y’all are valid, your identity is worthy of respect, and you are trans enough. Your identity is not dependent on ANY of that crap.
Trans is short for Transgender, not Transition. Period.
If you change your name, if you change your pronouns, if you get surger(y)(ies), if you change how you dress, if you go onto HRT, if you wear makeup (or stop), if you bind, if you cut your hair (or grow it out), if you have dysphoria, you are trans enough.If you do/experience some of that, or none of it, you are trans enough. Presentation and medically transitioning are not pre-requisites for being trans, or being trans enough.
Truscum/TransMedicalists can get lost.
On Homophobic and Transphobic Family
Yes, I am an educator, an activist, and an organizer.
No, I do not have to put myself in a position to be hurt.
I have family and old friends that I will not put myself in more than a cursory connection with, because their beliefs and opinions are toxic for me and my mental health.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t love them, want the best for them, and want them to be happy. It just means that their behavior, words, and actions are painful, detrimental, and harmful to me, so I limit my time and contact with them.
I wish them no ill will, but they want to force me back into a box that did a LOT of harm to me and almost killed me, more than once. That is not ok, and I will not put myself in that place anymore.I minimized, quieted myself, hid, and stayed silent for far too long. I will not do it anymore.
As a yt, (mostly) able-bodied trans woman I have more privilege than any of my BIPOC LGBTQIA+ friends, family, and comrades.If I ignore that, or don’t use it to push anti-racism in queer spaces, I am just as bad as the people that make spaces unsafe and unwelcoming for them.
This. The only “representation,” I had in media were horrible homophobic and transphobic jokes and Chandler’s parent (from what I remember, it was never made clear if trans or gay, but either way, super cringe).
This is one of the many reasons that it took me so long to figure out my identity, and it could have killed me. Being able to see LGBTQIA+ people (or knowing that anything besides for L and G existed) growing up would have given me some hope and maybe allowed me to go through a little less pain and suffering.
On The Closet and Coming Out
Remember that the joy we show this Pride season is for us making it out of the closet alive, but it is also to show those who can’t come out (for whatever reason) that we are here, we love them, and they are valid, even if they have only come out to themselves.
Not everyone can come out and be safe. There are many places in the world where being an out LGBTQIA+ person is literally punishable by death.
I have a serious question, seriously, Kimmy Vanillabean.
What in the actual fuck is wrong with you?
This is Dwayne’s Daughter. HER name is Zaya. Your transphobia is showing.
Trans people exist, have existed, and will exist as long as humans do. Science, biology, and actual lived experience show us that we are not lying about who we are. You choosing to ignore that is just bigotry, plain and simple.I hope to whatever god you pray to that you never have children, if them being LGBTQIA+ is a reason for you not to love them unconditionally. If you can’t deal with that, then you should just never have children. Kids are not your property or mini-me’s, they are people, and some of them are going to be gay, bi, ace, non-binary, or trans.
Avoiding the comments on this toxic AF post is self-care.
Are words that are seldom used to describe beings like me. Instead, the phrases describing us border on abuse.
Facts, not feelings, these bigots shout, Except, to them, facts have no clout. We give them hundreds of studies and peer reviewed journals, That show we are right, All we get in response are jeers.
The facts they are talking about, are the ones that a badly mistranslated book supposedly says, But when using that same source to refute their gobbledygook, We get mocked even more.
Which is it, we cry in frustration. We don’t want adoration. All we want is to be seen for who we are, Not for what some bigoted people with their heads so far, In the past, that the world is still flat, believe of us.
Scientific. Philosophic. Historic.
Are all part of us, Not even counting on the trust, That our experiences prove we exist, And our validity, Is true and just.
So, today being International Women’s day, I have been thoughtful all day. Last year, I went to the local march, even though it was excruciatingly cold.
I felt like I didn’t belong, or like I was an imposter, because I didn’t grow up in a body like theirs, and because I still had the benefits of male privilege at times. I was made to feel welcome, and the relationships that I formed that day are still going strong, and have allowed me to grow and flourish in my activism work, and given me some beautiful friendships.
However, this year, despite the way some people treat me (Looking at you TERFs) and look at me, I feel more entrenched in my identity and like I deserve the identity of woman.
The sad part about that is that a lot of it is because of shared victimization by misogynists (both Men and “Gender Critical,” A-Holes, who, let’s call a spade a spade. You are just spicy misogynists, and not a feminist in any sense of the word.) and feeling like I am not enough. Not Woman enough, not pretty enough, not Feminine enough, not thin enough, not quiet enough, not submissive enough, and on and on and on and on.
That is just a lie that my gender dysphoria, my head, and the outside world with their lies and bigotry tells me. Women are loud, Women are messy, Women wear all sorts of clothes, both “Masculine,” and “Feminine,” (Spoiler Alert: Clothes don’t have a gender). Women Wear Makeup and don’t. Women Wear Jewelry and don’t. Women bear children and don’t. Women have facial hair and don’t.
I can be what the world tells me what a woman is, or I can be me…And, to be perfectly honest, being what the world tells me a woman is sounds an awful lot like who I was when I was told I was a boy and a man.
I limited myself, edited myself, and lost myself in an identity that I was told I should have because of what I looked like…even though that identity was never mine. It was always off and always felt like I was broken, even before the trauma that the world and I put myself through broke me.
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
Bilbo Baggins, The Lord of The Rings, JRR Tolkien
Bilbo said it right. This is how I felt all of the time when I did what you told me and was who you told me I was.
If I do the same thing as when I was hiding in my boy shaped costume, I will be in pain all of the time, my emotions will be minimized, “unjustified,” and theorized. My interests are not for me, my job is not for me (I work in STEM), I am too loud, too opinionated, much too much, too feminine, too masculine, too everything.
By your (the world’s) definition of Femininity and womanhood, I just shouldn’t exist, and by that same definition, so shouldn’t a lot of the strongest and brightest women that I know.
With All Due Respect, Fuck That
I can be me, a woman who is loud, angry, joyous, sensitive, strong, poetic, brash, hardcore, an activist, an anti-racist, an anti-ableist, a mental health advocate, a nerd, a geek, a Lesbian, an Asexual, a warrior, a princess, your strongest ally (or your worst enemy), sweet, sassy, demure, dominating, and so much more.
OR, I can be a subservient shell of a person…which is what the world, society, and politicians want me to be.
With All Due Respect, Fuck You and The Horse You Rode in On
If that is what you want from me, what do you want from your daughters, your wives, your sisters, your nieces, your aunts, your grandmothers, etc?
I suspect, the exact same thing
Women are whatever and whoever they tell you they are, and whoever they want to be. So today, of all days, I am standing up and telling you:
I am Justice, I am a Woman, I am Trans, I am Bold, I am Loud, I am Sweet, I am Sassy, I am your best friend, I am your Worst Nightmare. I am filled with anxiety and depression, I have hope, strength, and integrity to do the right thing whether it is what you say it is what your big bad sky daddy wants or not. I am a Beauty and a Bitch, and I am not going anywhere.
Good morning friends. I am in a very contemplative state this week, but especially today. Today being election day in the US. We have a very broken system, that cannot be denied. The powers that be tell us it is a Democracy, which is nothing but a pipe dream, we are much closer to an Oligarchy, and our current President would have it be a Monarchy or a Facist state with him and his family as the “Dear Leaders.”
There are so many human rights that are being put on the ballot with this election…which, to be perfectly frank, is a load of bullshit. Human rates should not be up for debate, they should not be along party lines, or linked to politics at all. They should just be standard. If you are an human, you get the same rights. This, however, is not the case, at least in the US.
If it were, there would not be this massive dread and (as) extreme polarization between Democrats and Republicans. I am not going to use left and right, because, while that may have been the case in the past, decades of the right moving further right, and the left bowing and scraping and making nice has moved them out of “The Left,” and deep into centrist territory. I am not a Democrat, haven’t been in a very long time, but at least their main party lines don’t want me dead and forgotten.
Onto the human rights that are on the ballot today. We have so many that are being infringed upon, as the BLM protests, Children in cages, families being separated (and parents not being able to be found), rape and molestation victims being forced (in some states) to carry a literal reminder of one of their greatest (if not the greatest) traumas to term and care for it…
But that is not the ones that I am going to focus on. As I am trans and a lesbian there are more than enough rights that may be ripped away from me and my siblings.
The LGBTQIA+ community has been a focus of this administration literally from day one, starting with removing all references to us from the White House website the day Trump was sworn into office in 2017, and manymore, including trying to make it illegal for same sex couples to be able to adopt.
However, the focus of this piece is going to be on the transphobic bigotry that will likely become legal if Trump is elected for a second term, as these will directly affect me.
One of the biggest human rights violations that this administration has tried to push through was allowing healthcare workers to deny care to trans people. Whether this is because of their religious beliefs, bigotry, or any other reason, this is scary, and a very slippery slope. If I am in a car accident and need lifesaving care, and the EMTs don’t want to save my life, I don’t want to suffer the same fate as Tyra Hunter did in 1995 in Washington DC.
She was a Black Trans Woman whose car was hit by someone that ran a red light, and the EMTs stopped working on her when they realized that she was trans, even with bystanders yelling at them to help her. She only received care after the supervisor arrived, over 5 minutes after they had stopped administering care. She ended up dying an hour after arriving at the hospital, and was misgendered even on being admitted as a “Justice Doe.”
This could become the norm if Trump’s administration had their way and he is re-elected. Go to the hospital with heart problems, cancer, or a broken bone, they find out you are trans and will not treat you. They will not directly kill us, but allowing people’s bigotry and religious conviction be the guide will kill a lot of trans (and intersex) people.
In addition, if this administration had their way, we would be placed in lockup/jails/prisons with people of our AGAB (Assigned Gender At Birth), having to use the wrong bathroom, etc. even after legally changing our name, gender, and medically transitioning. They use the Transphobic Dog Whistle that “Biological Males,” in a women’s space (completely disregarding trans men and non-binary people) are going to rape/attack other women. The facts of the matter are that trans women (especially black trans women) are sexually assaulted in higher percenta(by a huge margin) than our cisgender counterparts, and if a cisgender man wants to rape a woman, he is not going to bother dressing up as a woman, he is simply going to rape her. A sign on a door is not going to stop him.
Being able to have stable housing and income is something that everyone wants and works towards. This administration does not want that for trans people. Removing gender and gender identity as a protected class in the DOJ gives them an edge to do it nationally, and gives them (and others) precedent. Most states in the US do not have protections for their trans workers. If someone wants to fire you for being trans (or LGBTQIA+ at all), there is not a damn thing you can do about it. SCOTUS did rule that being LGBTQIA+ people are protected from workplace discrimination, however if you are not a part of a union (which most people are not) they can make up other reasons or just fire you because “It just isn’t working out,” or “you just aren’t a good fit,” even if there were no problems with your work, you could be fired for being trans, without being fired for being trans.
This extends to housing. Most states (the only one that I know of that does have protections is NY state) have zero protections for being evicted for being trans. In addition to that, HUD (With Ben Carson at the head) proposed a new rule that would allow emergency shelters to not allow trans people to be housed with people of their gender (using the same transphobic dog whistle as prisons/bathrooms), instead forcing them to be housed with people that have the same AGAB, or deny service completely.
All of this is completely outside of the realm of the very real threat of sexual or physical assault or murder which trans people (Black Trans Women, in particular) face for just being themselves. There have been 35 murders of trans, non-binary, and Gender Non-Conforming people in the US in 2020 so far (more than any year before with 2 months left in the year), and that is not counting the ones that are mis-identified and mis-gendered in death or their families do not allow them to be identified as trans. The number is probably much higher than that.
In addition, the Gay/Trans Panic defense is still a valid legal defense in 39 states. This basically states that finding out that someone is gay or trans can be so shocking that you go off the rails and react violently. It is essentially saying that because of the cishetnormativity of the world, being outside of that is so earth shattering that violence and murder are valid reactions. It is also continuing the rule of victim blaming and excusing white cis men’s behavior (the majority of the people that kill trans people are from that demographic) that our country has made the rule in assaults, no matter the victim.
With Amy Coney Barrett being confirmed to the Supreme Court, there are a lot of rights which would be able to be ripped away, not the least of which is for Gay/Bi/Lesbian people to marry (if it is a same sex marriage). I am a lesbian, and I am legally Female, so I could personally be affected by this when I am ready to marry another woman. It is also important to note that the right to marry was only given to LGBT+ people five years ago.
This may sound dramatic, but given this administration’s push this summer to ban same-sex couples from adopting children, I do not believe that it is a far leap from that to removing the ability to get married.
So, when people say “Agree to disagree,” or “Different political opinions,” I cannot take them seriously, and know that they are just so privileged that they have never had to deal with their rights being ripped away and their existence and human rights being made into a political tool that can change with every administration.
This administration has done absolutely everything that it can to reduce our ability to live happy, productive lives.
So, this article has been all gloom and doom, and what might happen, and for some people, that might send them into a place where they are unable to move/act. That is not the case for me, and I hope for you. I am MORE incensed to push for change, to hold people (locally, regionally, nationally, and globally) accountable for their atrocious and abhorrent behavior and treatment of trans people (and LGBTQIA+ people as a whole), and to be even more visible, out and proud. I don’t want one more person killed because of who they are or feel that there is no hope for them and end it all because they see the bigotry rampant in our world, whether it is because of the color of their skin, their sexuality, or their gender.
If you are trans, you know most of these things already, as you live it. If, however, some (or all) of these things are surprising/shocking to you, I have a challenge for you.
Reach out to your LGBTQIA+ friends and family, make sure that they are OK.
Stay informed about the laws that are being passed/debated (both in your state and nationally).
Call your elected officials and tell them that you do not support (or you do, if they are protecting rights instead of stripping them away) this particular laws.
Hold these officials accountable to their campaign promises, and do nopt back down.
Support your LGBTQIA+ friends and family as needed. They may not feel comfortable with opening up to you, but they may. I know that having people that actually give a shit has been so important for me when these atrocious laws are being passed and these abominable bigotry and fake science is being spewed from elected officials and people that have no idea what being trans is, and think it is a kink or has anything to do with sexuality.
Hold your friends and family accountable and correct them when they parrot the vitriolic garbage that transphobes want people to think is fact.
We are tired of having to defend our identities and our right to exist. Please, just help us.
Let this inspire you and incite you to help us, and help yourselves.
*Note: These are my feelings and thoughts, not anyone else’s, especially not any other trans person’s. So, don’t use this as an excuse to call all trans people, or all trans women weak. If you do, you are an asshole. Full Fucking Stop*
I am an author and poet. I am an advocate and ally for oppressed peoples of all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders. I am head of a grassroots organization working to open a Pride Center in my city. I am an educator. I am an IT professional whose skills and time are respected and sought after.
I am also a human, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a niece, a cousin, and a girlfriend. I feel strong enough most of the time, but every so often, the world gets to me.
I am also a trans woman, which means a lot of things, one of which is that some of the loudest and most offensive people in the world think that I shouldn’t exist and are doing their damnedest to push me out.
Now, this goes in direct opposition to, I don’t know, actual doctors, biologists, neuroscientists, psychiatrists, etc. and actual trans people with lived experience. This doesn’t stop them, however, from screaming that I am an abomination, mentally unstable, sexually sick, a danger to children, a man disguised as a woman to get into the women’s’ bathroom to see them naked, etc, etc, etc.
This all leads to me wanting to curl up in a ball and cry sometimes, or escape from the world for a bit. I love my life, I love my job, I love my family and friends, I love my partner, I love being able to stand up for those that need it…but sometimes, I just feel so overwhelmed. If the damn TERFs would fuck off with their lies and bigotry for even a day it would make it so much easier for me to take a breath.
When I get to these points, I just feel lost, and like Bilbo Baggins
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
But I can’t stop. I can’t let up. I have to keep working, keep fighting, keep striving for excellence and growth.
When people like me let up, the bigots keep pushing their agendas to try to dehumanize, delegitimize, and destroy us. Not just in the US, but in so many countries all over the world. Don’t believe me? Simply Google trans rights in Europe, Asia, South America, or Africa. It is disheartening, and is only getting worse. (For example: https://tgeu.org/trans-rights-europe-central-asia-map-index-2019/)
We can’t stop. There are so many people, in so many countries, that are being actively erased from existence because of bigots and fundamental religious beliefs that ignore scientific evidence and research. Because they don’t want to accept that we exist, and have existed as long as homo sapiens have been a thing.
However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to take a break sometimes. I can’t speak for any of the other trans people working for our rights and recognition, but I imagine they sometimes feel the same way.
Giving up, letting up, or stopping are not an option. The lawmakers (even the ones that call themselves allies) are not doing enough. For every one or two victories we get, 10 other local, regional, or national laws working to erase us from history are enacted.
More of us are killed every year (a disproportionate number of the killings are Black Trans Women), we lose partners, family, jobs, housing, healthcare, etc. for simply standing up and saying
This is not to say that you shouldn’t take the time and space to regenerate as needed. Just don’t let it consume your time. There are people all over the world that need us, and there are people that will benefit from the work we are doing long after we have passed on.
If you become overwhelmed and feel broken, remember that there are so many people that SEE you, and appreciate the work/education that you are doing, even if you don’t interact with them directly.
Also, remember, that taking a few days to recharge will give you an huge benefit, and, in turn, your advocacy and education. It will allow you to not be running on fumes.
We tell ourselves that we cannlt let up, but what that does is burn us out to the point of walking away and not coming back to it.
Be strong. Be vigilant. Be kind. Be loving. Be riteous.
Give love. Give light. Give time. Give knowledge.
Take the time to heal. Take the time to grow. Take the time to be you, and not lose yourself in the work you are doing.
So, I have some family that is resistant to using my pronouns and calling me Justice; instead using my birth name and pronouns.
While most of you will find it hard to believe that I have a hard (almost impossible) time speaking up when they are misgendering me and deadnaming me, what with how outspoken, visible, and how much of an advocate I am for myself and others…this is one of the hardest things that I have come up against.
Why, you may ask?
Simply put, when my family is doing this, it brings me right back to that moment when I was 3 or 4 and first wore a dress. No, not the euphoria I felt at finally feeling comfortable in my own skin, but my siblings laughing at their perception of it being so ridiculous. It told me IMMEDIATELY that me going outside of gender norms was wrong, ludicrous, and something to be mocked.
I doubt that my siblings (3 and 6 years older than me, respectively) thought much about it, have since, or that it affected them in the slightest. They may not even remember it. Why should they? It wasn’t a crucial moment for them and their development (or lack thereof) like it was for me.
But what it did was tell me that going outside of predetermined gender roles and identity would mean that I would be mocked, laughed at, and ridiculed. In addition, that even daring to experiment with it with anyone besides myself in the area would lead to feelings of worthlessness, so why even try.
It told the budding, confused, and vulnerable little girl inside that she was broken, wrong, and shouldn’t exist, and if she dared to, she would be faced with controversy and pain. So, why even bother trying?
I took that memory (and a lot of others that may have made me face my gender identity sooner) and buried it for a long time. It is only in the last few months that I even remembered that this occurred. What it tells me is that I KNEW who I was at 4 years old, and was told that it was wrong and I had to hide it in order to be accepted in my family and in the world at large.
I grew up in a small, rural, and conservative farming community. I met my first gay person at 14 years old (knew him prior to this, but that was when he came out to me), but I didn’t know that Trans people even existed until I was well into my 20s.
Had I been allowed to experiment with my gender growing up, I am fairly certain of a couple of things, because of reflections on my life and some of the things that my family has said and done since I came out to them.
First, that I might not gone through the pain and trauma that I put myself through trying to bury who I was.
Second, that my family would not have known what to do, and might have done some hurtful things out of love to “prove,” that I was not trans, and that I was simply confused.
I am a trans woman today, as much as I was a trans girl on that day so many years ago. I simply finally was in enough existential, emotional, and spiritual pain to finally allow myself to look at myself, in a way that I was immediately told was wrong.
So, when my family doesn’t use my name and pronouns, it tells me a couple of things.
That I am not worthy of their respect or love unless I am the person that they see me as. It also tells me that they don’t truly see or hear me, just like they didn’t see me that day so many years ago.
I may never have the strength to tell them that enough is enough, and if they negate my identity and existence any longer, they won’t have the privilege of having me in their lives, but that breaking point is getting closer and closer every time they call me he and my deadname.
I don’t want to have to do that, but every time I hear it, that moment gets closer and closer, and harder and harder not to make a reality.
I get that they are having to come to terms with me being their daughter and sister, where before (as far as they knew), I was their son and brother…but I can only take so much more refusal to even try.
I hope that this is simply a bad chapter in my story, that I can look back on when reflecting about how things were, but I truly don’t know what the resolution of this will be.
So, I was asked a few different questions about my experience as a Trans Woman. I am going to try to answer one (or more, but let’s be honest, I am verbose, so…) of them every day until I am through them.
The first one is: Do you feel like you were socialized differently from boys? Differently for girls?
Prefacing this with, this is only my experience, I can’t speak for all trans women, as their experiences definitely don’t all align with mine, and they have their own stories and experiences.
Note: When I say that I was told or taught something about what being a boy/man was, it was not necessarily someone telling me that, it could have been movies, tv, books, watching others, etc.
One of the talking points that is used about trans people is that they were “Socialized AGAB.” That is true, in part, but there is so much more to that narrative.
What it leaves out is what was going on in my head in all of my interactions with both cisgender males and cisgender females. I was expected to have male friends, because I was told I was male, I didn’t know any different, and couldn’t put into words how I felt for so long. I wasn’t included in “girls’ activities,” and was given “boys’ toys.”
I didn’t have the words for what I was feeling, and told myself for decades that “Everyone must think and feel like this.” I didn’t know how wrong that was.
I was expected to be stronger, faster, more competitive, more aggressive, etc. than my sisters. I was excluded from their activities and time with my parents, and the time I had with them was different than my sisters. I was actively shut out from play time with dolls, etc. because it wasn’t for me.
The first time I felt gender euphoria, I was about 4 years old. I played dressup with my sisters, and I picked a dress and a floppy hat. I was ecstatic! I had no idea what I was feeling at the time, but, looking back, it was the first time that I felt comfortable and at home in my own body.
That should have been a beautiful experience, but instead, I was made fun of by my sisters. I don’t think they knew what they were doing, or the hurt that caused, but it told me immediately that what I felt was wrong and shameful. To my recollection, I never picked the dresses again.
I was told I had to be friends with boys, so I was. I was told I should be good at sports, so I worked to do so, even though I was playing with boys who were more aggressive, competitive, etc. than I was naturally. Rather than be left behind and looked at as being “girly, or weak,” I became as aggressive and competitive as I possibly could. I got angry when I messed up, I took up “masculine,” hobbies. For example, I taught myself how to throw axes when I was about 15.
If I was going to be treated like a boy, even though I didn’t feel comfortable with that and couldn’t express how I felt, I was going to be the best boy I could be. That may be why my family and oldest friends are so confused about me being a trans woman. I played the part of an average boy and man for as long as I could…and it almost broke me.
Spending time with Men always led me to thinking things like:
– Why are they talking about women like that? – Should I tell their Partner/Spouse? – No, don’t do that, then they will all hate you and not trust you. – This must be what they are all thinking, and they just say these things to fit in. – But if they all think like this, then why are they saying these things? – MUST CHANGE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS! DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT…NOW! – ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!
I was always having thoughts like that, and having to rationalize them away, to prevent looking at my gender.
I couldn’t have the types of pjysical relationships with girls and women that they could have with one another. Not in a sexual way, but sleep overs, pecks on the cheek, platonic cuddling, sitting on each other’s laps, telling each other how much they loved each other in a truly heartfelt and intimate manner, and so many other things. This tainted my ability to have those truly special relationships that girls and women have with each other.
I was taught that boys should chase after girls, and that we could be friends, but that there was always the ulterior motive of a romantic encounter, and if that didn’t happen, you were “friend zoned.” This put an unhealthy spin on every relationship that I had with girls and women that I was not related to for my entire life. I would have a beautiful friendship with a cisgender woman, and instead of being able to appreciate it and nurture it, I would ruin it by telling them that I had feelings for them. I didn’t know the difference between sisterly love and lust/romantic love. When they didn’t feel the same way (turns out I didn’t, either) it inevitably broke the bond in an almost irreparable way. I lost so many beautiful friendships with girls and women because I couldn’t differentiate between longing and sisterly love.
In fact, the situation that made me realize all of this was not that long ago. My best friend (Let’s call her K) and I have that kind of intimate friendship that women can have with each other, and because of the lessons that I have been taught and had been reinforced my entire life, I couldn’t recognize it for what it is. I ended up telling her how I thought that I felt, namely, that I was in love with her in a romantic way. She listened and then told me that she didn’t feel the same way…exactly like so many other girls and women before (rough count, probably around 40 or 50 throughout my life)…but unlike the others, we didn’t let it drive us apart.
The moment I realized that I was wrong, and had been wrong in so many other situations was when she met an amazing man that is a perfect match for her. I WAS ECSTATIC FOR HER! Immediately, unequivocally, and completely.
I wasn’t jealous, angry at this guy, figuting out ways to manipulate things that he did or said to “prove,” to her that he was wrong for her, etc. This was completely different than all of these other times, and I had a revelation. I didn’t love her…not in the way that I thought, at least.
Yes, I love her in a deep, intimate, and real way, but not romantically, not even a little. I love her the way that women do with their soul sisters.
So, in conclusion, yes, I was socialized as a boy/man, and differently with girls, but it didn’t matter, because I wasn’t a boy hanging out with boys and a boy hanging out with girls, I was a girl the whole time…even though I couldn’t accept it, understand it, or do anything about it for a very long time.
So, a friend asked me today why I identify as a trans woman instead of as just a woman, because it seems like I am separating/sub-categorizing myself. I could have just commented, but instead, I decided to write it out thoughtfully. There are many reasons, and it is a choice I made, and make on a daily basis to continue.
Preface: This is only my experience and opinion. I do not speak for every trans person that identifies this way, simply for myself.
That being said, here goes:
Trans is an adjective, like tall or smelly. It is a descriptor of the kind of woman I am. I use Trans Woman as my descriptor/identity for a multitude of reasons. They are many and varied. I will attempt to list them all out in the best way that I can.
First, because I don’t have the same experiences as an AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) Woman, it feels like I am taking something away from myself and my identity if I drop the Trans. Also, because I didn’t have those experiences, I feel more like I am an awkward 13-16 year old girl in a 34 year old’s body.
I didn’t get to experiment with makeup, dish and giggle with the girls about the stupid things the boys did that day, grow into my body in the way that they did, etc. I also didn’t have to worry about someone assaulting me, following me home, having my keys in my hand walking across the parking lot, not going certain places after dark, having a code word with friends when going out, etc. These are all things that separate my experience from an AFAB women’s.
I also don’t feel that I am fully worth of the “title,” of just woman. Most of the strongest people (and most of my heroes) are women who have been through uninimaginable horrors and trauma that were inflicted upon them by people that have bodies that are like mine (at least until I started on HRT [Hormone Replacement Therapy]).
Even though I never did those things, or ever even related to Men’s ways of thinking or acting, I have the same body, and got the same treatment that they did for my entire life up until not that long ago. It feels like I am taking something away from their experiences and struggles if I claim the identity of Woman.
In addition, I had to work so hard and do so much soul searching, deal with the pain that I did, make myself a limited version of myself, and finally get to a point of breaking out of my cute boy shaped costume in order to get to this moment.
That is not the experience that a cisgender woman had or ever will have. That separates us in a way that I cannot ever traverse (no matter how much I wish I could sometimes). I am a woman forged in fire, pain, loss, struggles, and rebirth in a way that a non-trans woman will ever experience. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just the fact of the matter.
Also, because I am strong enough. I don’t say that out of ego, I have had a rough life, and a lot of people would not have survived to get to this point. I put myself in a lot of dangerous situations that should have killed me because of the pain I was in. Most people have 1 or 2 situations that they could or should have died…I can’t even count them. They probably number in the hundreds. I beat my body up for years in a multitude of ways, actively had a death wish for about 5 years, acted without thinking because I just didn’t care whenther I lived or died, told people to shoot me or stab me (they didn’t), spent time with severely unhinged people that had done serious time for intense violent crimes that they had no remorse over, and many other dangerous situations that your average person wouldn’t have ever thought about putting themself in, let alone actievely sought them out. I was also actively suicidal for significant periods of time. I never did anything about it, because I couldn’t force myself to do it, but there were months where I thought about killing myself every day.
So, I am strong enough to take it. Anything that bigots and transphobes care to throw at me is nothing to compare to what I put myself through.
I do this, and am as visible as I am for many reasons.
First, for every person that doesn’t know a trans person and judges them, makes fun of them, laughs at them, etc. Maybe if they see me or talk to me, I can change their mind.
Secondly, for the trans people that have to deal with bigots and transphobes in every aspect of their life. If they can see me living my life 100% authentically, maybe it gives them the strength to hold on long enough to live their lives without fear and get out of the oppressive situations that they are in currently.
Thirdly, because of white privilege. Trans people as a whole are one of the most victimized, brutalized, and oppressed people in the world, second only to Trans People of color. Because of the color of my skin, I can say things, do things, and be safe in situations that my siblings cannot. If I were to ignore that, I would be willfully ignorant, and I don’t know if I could ever forgive myself for doing that.
Lastly, for trans kids. I do what I do so that they will live long enough to become beautiful, strong, and vibrant Trans adults. Full fucking stop.
I have no bones about knowing that me being as visible, outspoken, proud, and happy as I am angers some people, and some of them may wish me harm, pain, and death. That’s fine. I don’t like it, don’t accept it, and will not let it stop me from living my most authentic life.
If one trans person lives to die of old age, and not murder or suicide, because of my actions and visibilty, then it is 1,000,000,000% worth it.
I am also, not blind to the fact that I may be the victim of a transphobic hate crime because of my visibility, outspokeness, authenticity, words, and actions. I may be killed or brutalized at some point. I have made my peace with that.
One of my (blood) siblings said that they (not their pronouns, but to protect their anonymity, I am using gender neutral pronouns) were worried I would die within 5 years. Honestly, when I read that message, I thought to myself, 5 years of finally living as myself and being happy? Instead of the 30+ years of pain and suffering that I had prior?
There is no comparison to my life today to what it was even 5 years ago, and I would die peacefully knowing who I am.
So, to my friend, and anyone who read this far, those are the reasons that I identify as a trans woman instead of a woman.
I am going to preface this with, not attacking anyone, just something that I have been reflecting on and made me think. I also could be just overthinking this, as I am apt to do at times, so please let know your thoughts.
If however, you see this as an attack and feel the need to defend your religion, you can just go ahead and keep scrolling, that is not my intent, I am simply putting some of my thoughts into words to open debate and make people think. I am not saying any belief system is more right than another, in fact, my belief is that all religious and spiritual beliefs are partly right (and partly wrong, because they were created by humans, who are flawed) and are just ways that resonate more with different people.
If you feel that strongly about it, maybe that is something you should look at, and if you want to go on the defensive, maybe you should just stop reading my writing, as an attack is not what I am doing, and I am not going to sit and try to defend things that are simply observations.
That being said, here is what I have been reflecting on over the last 24 hours or so:
It is amazing how much the Christian mindset pervades our country. I am not Christian, haven’t been in a long time, but I got so many “Happy Easter,” greetings yesterday (phone calls, texts, etc.), including a Snapchat message from the developers…
Nothing wrong with that, except as a person who doesn’t subscribe to these beliefs, it is pushed so hard, especially when compared to other belief systems and their (not)doing the same thing.
I didn’t know what to say/respond to these messages. You too seems wrong, as I don’t want to enforce the idea that it is fine and I believe the same thing that they do. I said (to my mom when we talked on the phone) that it isn’t a holiday for me, so I didn’t have a special meal or anything planned; it seemed as if she was shocked/thrown when I said that, I think partly because I grew up in that belief system, and partly because she doesn’t see how I could walk away from it, because it has helped her so much and is so tied to a part of her identity.
In comparison, I have a LOT of Jewish friends…and none of them sent me a message wishing me a happy Passover (even though the start was only a few days ago)…but I can think of at least 10 people who reached out to me to wish me a happy Easter.
For a country that says it is ok to be whatever you want, it is amazing how the subliminal message that is being pushed is that if you are non-Christian, you are outside of the norm, and it is ok to push those beliefs onto others, even if just in a “Happy whatever,” way.
A related thought is the “War on Christmas.” Spoiler alert, people that celebrate other holidays aren’t trying to take away your ability to celebrate one of your religion’s major holidays.
There are holidays for almost every major (and some minor) religions in December and January, and saying happy holidays is literally the most accurate way to greet people, especially if you don’t know their beliefs, which, if you are honest with yourself, it is a pretty good bet that you don’t know what religious belief all of the people that you interact with in a 6 week period are practitioners of.
Personally, I know Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Satanists, Jews, Taoists, and more, so me saying “Merry Christmas,” especially when it isn’t something that I follow or agree with (for me only), and have had such a tumultuous relationship with the religion I was raised in, (in a sense) negates the experiences and beliefs of all of those people.
It personally makes me feel uncomfortable saying Christian phrases, for many reasons. If I do, am I open to hearing Happy whatever, or May X bless you, or am I implicitly closing the door and making others either pretend like I didn’t say anything, or letting them know that I think that their beliefs are not as valuable as mine?
It also echoes the (sometimes) unspoken belief that if you do not fit in the White, Cisgender, and straight package there is something wrong/broken/different/other about you, and we need to make sure that you know this…incessantly, and offensively. Add Judeo-Christian to that list, and the only thing on that list that I am is White, so there is always going to be something about me that offends someone’s delicate sensitivites.