Roots: Trans/Women

The duality of trans.

Trans women are women.

Transwomen are transwomen.

Trans women are men.

Trans women are trans men.

Transwomen are women.

Trans Identified Males are men.

Transwomen are transmen.

Trans women are women not trans women.

Trans women are not women they’re transwomen.

Trans women are transwomen are trans women are transwomen.

I AM SO SICK OF TALKING ABOUT THIS!

So let’s talk about it more, shall we?

As I’ve represented above, there’s a wide range of perceptions of who/what trans people are, which are usually VERY context heavy in one’s subjective perception of us. The truth is far more complicated and nuanced than any one such assertion can encompass.

Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to split myself into two halves, and you’re going to (hopefully) have a good time reading about it.

(Thank you very much for reading, by the way!)

TRANS / WOMAN

Let’s begin with the latter.

Woman:

Trans activists are often challenged with the question, “What is a woman?” I’ve grappled with this question for years and the only conclusion I can come to is that there is no adequate trans-inclusive response. It’s an argument we simply cannot win unless we reduce “woman” to mean anyone who identifies as such.

Accepting trans women are women requires adopting a philosophy that values trans women as so similar to adult human females that they should be recognized as what we’ve commonly understood to be women rather than the distinct category transwomen. In valuing similarity with the category, we might accept the term “cisgender,” a term that makes me uncomfortable for many reasons.

First of all, when “cis” was originally coined, it was “cissexual” to compliment “transsexual” as its opposite. In its original meaning, “cissexual” simply meant “one who has not medically transitioned”. It was a term describing a non-transsexual embodiment.

Today, the term has become “cisgender” following the cultural shift away from “transsexual” to “transgender” instead. This term carries quite a bit more baggage. It does not simply refer to a non-transsexual embodiment, it refers to one’s identity.

The exact definition according to the Oxford dictionary reads: “Denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.”

But what if someone is gender non-conforming? What if someone is against the idea that any sense of personal identity/gender should be tied with their birth sex at all? What if someone rejects the idea of gender entirely and thinks only in terms of sex? How can we force the term on to such people? How can we make them identify as cis?

We can’t, and we shouldn’t.

My other issue with the term is that it has been co-opted by social justice activists and encoded into the language of privilege hierarchy. To be “cis” is to be a trans oppressor. I never have, and never will look on people who are not trans as my oppressors. It sickens me every time I see activists weaponizing the word to turn ordinary people into a class of trans antagonists.

None of this is to say that “cis” doesn’t have meaning or usefulness. It’s a perfectly valid way of structuring thought to be more trans-inclusive within the categories of “men” and “women” but it is understandable why many find the distinction which excludes us from these categories valid. This typically comes down to a difference in philosophy between valuing our differences over our similarities with those categories or vice versa. In my thinking, I value difference, and so in the ways I choose to identify myself and structure the language I use, I choose to express and respect that value.

I completely understand why most trans people value similarity and choose to instead identify themselves as trans men and women and advocate for the separate categories of cis men and women in society and I would never condemn them for doing so. My intent here is not to attack trans people or challenge this value of similarity over difference, it is only to speak to what I feel is right by my own philosophy and show what it has to offer the world.

Neither philosophy is “correct” and in fact, regardless of which we find greater value in, we trans people have both similarities and differences with men and women.

So, without “cis,” what is a woman?

Women are adult human females. Am I an adult human female? No.

But I am perceived to be one.

Objectively, I am an adult human male.

Subjectively, I am often interpreted as a woman.

You might say that I’m not literally a woman, but figuratively speaking, yes I am. When I am seen in the world and perceived to be an adult human female, I become subject to the same expectations as women. The cultural script I am expected to follow is a woman’s script. If I stray from that script, I am punished for what’s seen as “unwomanly” behavior. When I adhere to it, I am rewarded.

This woman’s script isn’t something that comes from within. It isn’t woven into my identity. It’s something that’s been imposed on me by society based on how I am perceived. Thus, I share subjective circumstance with women. My movement through the world is similarly restricted. People have expectations of me and react to me on the basis of those expectations in the same ways they react to women.

This means that I do experience misogyny. I am oppressed under patriarchal rule. But I recognize that although these things are true on the basis of how I’m perceived, my experiences and oppression differ from women on the basis of my sex. There is a limit to the scope of my womanhood, whereas there is no limit to theirs.

The scope of my womanhood is limited to the moments in which I pass as female. There was a time I lived in stealth, passing every day in every interaction. For that time, I was a woman per the subjective experience of others. Since, I’ve come out of the closet and now am much more open about the fact I’m trans in my interactions. By no means do I come out to every stranger I meet, but if I’m asked, I will tell you the truth, and the same is true if we become friends, co-workers, partners, or otherwise intimate.

Trans:

The truth is I’m trans, and the scope of my transhood is much wider than the scope of my womanhood. At all other places in life where my experience intersects with others, my transhood takes precedence.

When I say I am trans, I mean that I am an adult human transsexual. A transsexual is someone who undergoes medical treatment in order to undergo a binary transition from living perceived as their birth sex to living perceived as the opposite sex. Mutable aspects of our bodies allow us to do so through hormone replacement therapy and various surgical procedures. But it is important to remember that sex itself is not mutable. We can never really change sex.

There are also transgender people. Now, most would tell you that transgender and transsexual mean the same thing. Not long ago, I may have told you the same, but I’ve since found value in making a distinction between the two. In my early 20s, I came out to friends and co-workers and took my first timid steps out of the closet. During that time, I took on a new name, politely asked those in my life to use female pronouns for me, took on a part-time non-conforming lifestyle, and a handful of other changes. In this period, I was what I understand to be transgender. What separates me then from me now is the medical transition I’ve undergone and the fact I now live full time as a transwoman and am legally recognized as such. I’m happy to call such a person trans and treat them as they’d like to be treated socially, especially if they have every intent to medically transition, but it should be recognized and treated distinctly under law/policy.

My official legal status is female. At least, that’s what it says on all my identifying information. There’s heated debate over whether or not this status should apply to me and other trans people under laws and policies. I’ve got mixed feelings on this topic, but what pushes me off the fence is the implications it has for transmen under such laws. Transitioning from female to male, transmen take on a male legal status, which can strip them from access to laws, policies, programs, services etc that they might need.

In my view, it would work best if we were recognized as a distinct class and our laws were coded directly to us, rather than being funneled through laws designed for men/women. We are already recognized as a distinct social class and enabled to specified rights in many ways, such as in anti-discrimination laws and the laws enabling us to legally change our sex/gender markers in the first place. Why not simply apply this same approach where it’s needed and design laws/policies that guarantee trans inclusion through explicit mention?

Regardless, in terms of legality, we do often recognize transhood as a distinct status and I would say that we always should.

Medically speaking, it’s important my transhood be recognized as well. If I’m treated as female, I could be administered the wrong medications, receive improper treatments, be misdiagnosed, etc. There’s a whole host of things that could go wrong. You’d be hard pressed to find a trans person who disagrees. I’ve known many trans people and have never once met one who thought it appropriate to lie about their trans status to their doctor. We aren’t delusional. We understand the medical implications of what we are.

When it comes to spaces in public life, whether I like it or not, I am trans. Intersections in these spaces are very complicated for us come with a lot of nuance. Here, I’m speaking of areas like toilets, changing areas, showers/baths, services, sports, prisons, etc. as well as sexuality and in spaces shared by people of particular sexualities. Generally speaking, I would say that I would be most happy with trans-specific (or single occupancy where appropriate) spaces. However, at the same time, I recognize this is not always practical. It would be a logistical and financial nightmare to create spaces specifically for us, and even if you did, there are simply far too few of us in the world to justify it.

Thus, we opt for nuanced integration. There’s a lot to talk about with regard to all of these spaces. I could delve into my opinions on each here, but it would make this article far too long and I would be digressing far too much. Let’s suffice to say, in addition to what’s already been said, that the fact I am trans takes precedence in all cases. There’s a horrible tendency I’ve noticed for trans activists to be opposed to discourse over these topics on the basis of their mantra: trans women are women. It’s so discouraging to me when I see nuanced discourse being denied to people in favor of the mantra. For such activists, there is no nuance to be explored. Either trans women are women and welcome in all of those spaces without question, or you are a bigot/TERF.

For the record, no, you are not a bigot nor a TERF if you hold concerns over the nuance that comes with our public accommodations. Such concerns are perfectly rational/reasonable and worth addressing in good faith, returning the same reasonability and rationality with any interlocutor. If you’re looking for someone to have that sort of discourse with, please feel free to comment here, contact me via my contact page, or DM @drawnoutofshape on twitter. I’m always happy to discuss those views with anyone.

Several years ago, when I was first becoming interested in radical feminism and gender critique, I went on a forum and asked a group of gender critical feminists a philosophical question:

If we had the technology to enable complete transition of sex leaving trans people indistinguishable from the opposite of our birth sex chromosomally, hormonally, reproductively, etc. would you then recognize transwomen as women?

Going into it, I thought, “Of course they would see me as a woman then. There’d be no way to distinguish me.”

But, I was proven wrong.

Even if we had a magical tube I could enter and then re-emerge female, I would “technically” be an adult human female, you might even objectively identify me as one, but there’s still a difference.

There’s still the fact that I had the experience of being born male, and the experience living perceived as male up until I stepped into the tube. These historical differences count for so much more than we give them credit. They account for much of our learned behavior, garnered expectations, social mobility, granted opportunity, and personal autonomy. Had I been born female, my experience of the world would have been completely different, as would the world’s experience of me. The ways I would relate to the world and the ways the world would relate to me would be deeply impacted by that difference.

Transwoman:

Now, let’s put my two halves back together and return to our complex reality.

In the past, some women have expressed to me that they aren’t comfortable having intimate conversations with transwomen, “Why?” I would ask, and I’m sure they give me good answers, but I wasn’t willing to hear them and consider the truth they could see plain as day.

It wasn’t until a woman asked me this question, that I finally understood:

“If a person said they were a transwoman and engaged in an intimate trans-centric conversation with me, only to later reveal that they are not actually trans, would I feel lied to/betrayed?”

Yes, yes I would.

I’ve spoken with enough of my trans sisters by now to understand very well that there are just some things, usually very personal, intimate things about my trans experiences that I am only comfortable communicating with other transwomen. I want to communicate those things to someone who can understand and relate to them. If someone claimed to be trans in order to gain that kind of trust and garner that kind of intimate discussion from me under false pretenses, I wouldn’t feel safe communicating with that person anymore.

The same, it seems obvious to me now, is true of women. As I wrote when speaking to my womanhood, there is a lot of circumstance I share with women. I consider them my sisters too, not just transwomen. But there’s still some places I can’t go with them. Things I can’t relate to. Things they might find me knowing offensive after learning they’ve opened up under the false pretense that I’m an adult human female, just as I would be offended if I found I opened up to someone who wasn’t an adult human transsexual.

It’s all very complicated, but truth always is. The truth is that I’m a transwoman who values the difference that makes her distinct from women. I exist in a very complex, nuanced reality that is never easy but comes with its own rewards.

What does, “not a woman” mean exactly? Does this mean I’m a man? No, clearly not. My philosophy is transwomen are transwomen. There is more difference between me and men than between me and women.

It means only that I’m not an adult human female, and I’m not afraid to say it in celebration of difference. I’m an adult human male-to-female transsexual; a transwoman, and proud of it.

I’m not afraid to be present in our complex, nuanced reality and show the world how much a transwoman like me has to offer, bringing the full depth and breadth of my experiences to bear in my creations and interactions.

20 thoughts on “Roots: Trans/Women

    1. You’re welcome, Kathy! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. Thank you for commenting. If you ever have any thoughts to share or questions, don’t hesitate to comment on anything I write here, twitter, or anywhere else.

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  1. You rightly point out that there is a significant difference between being trans gender and being trans sexual and argue that the two should be treated differently under law and policy. What specific differences do you think there should be given the fact you seem also to be advocating for trans individuals to be treated as a single separate class for legislative purposes anyway. In your view, should someone who is trans sexual and not just trans gender be treated as a woman for all purposes despite your recognition of the fact that no one can actually change sex? And if so, how should trans gender people be treated? Also at what point does someone who is trans gender become trans sexual?

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    1. My answer to this can only really be expressed in nuance. In my view, all of us deserve the right to mobility and equality of opportunity, no matter how we might live or express ourselves, but at the same time we have to recognize our differences and how our lives impact others in society. There’s a “scope to our womanhood” as I’ve described in the article and that scope is very nuanced, depending greatly on how we’re seen by others.

      When I existed in the state I’ve identified as transgender, I understood how my presence impacted others. Among women, I’d stick out like a sore thumb, very much appearing and being read as a man. I don’t think anyone living in that state has any business in women’s spaces for both their own comfort/safety and the comfort/safety of others. Socially, it’s really a matter of trust and respect that we be treated as women whether we’re transgender or transsexual.

      When I came out, my friends trusted and respected me enough to treat me as one, use female pronouns, call me a new name, etc. It helped me a lot through that very difficult period of my life. Should people be compelled to adhere to that beyond that though? I’d say not. It’s nice, but I can understand (especially during my transgender period) why anyone wouldn’t.

      Now after beginning medical transition, I’m read as a woman and things are different, but still very nuanced. I do use some women’s spaces but I avoid it as best as I can. I prefer single-occupancy and mixed spaces when they’re available but I go to great lengths to ensure the impacts I make are minimal when they aren’t. The primary reason I avoid men’s is I have a deep distrust of them. I’ve been raped, sexually assaulted, abused, harassed, everything you might imagine and I’ve got the demons to prove it. I wouldn’t feel safe whatsoever in men’s rooms. Misogynists, creeps, and rapists don’t tend to exclude us. They target us the same and then if they realize we’re trans, the threat only escalates.

      When it comes to treating me as a woman with pronouns and the like, it’s a bit different because it’s less of a matter of wanting people to do that as people just doing that because these days I’m just interpreted that way naturally. It’s still a matter of trust and respect, but I’ve found that generally people are willing to offer me that even once I come out to them. I’m generally well liked and valued by people in my life. Most everyone understands I’m a respectful and trustworthy person and is happy to return that to me. I’ll tolerate those who refuse to use female pronouns and the like, but I honestly think they make themselves look rather silly and I tend to be disinclined to seek their company. It’s a matter of trauma for me. Being taken back to what I was before is an incredibly painful experience for me. I’ll endure people calling me whatever suits them, but it doesn’t mean I like it or that it’s practical to reality.

      The rabbit hole of nuance gets deeper and deeper as we go though. I’m a pre-operative transsexual, and that comes with its own nuance. I’m painfully aware of how that impacts women. I’m every bit as uncomfortable with that part of my body as any woman would be. When it comes to public showers/baths/services/interactions involving or revealing that part of me, I completely understand women’s immense discomfort with it. I share in it. That’s literally what dysphoria is. What’s complicating matters is that not every person calling themselves trans has suffered as I have. They don’t share in the burden of dysphoria with me, so they tend to have a very different philosophy when it comes to our accommodations and think the burden of their presence should be shouldered by others, not themselves. That women should just be “forced” to be comfortable with that. I couldn’t disagree with them more.

      We can go deeper if you like and talk about things like sports, prisons, shelters, etc but I’ll leave this off here for now. If you’d like to talk about things further, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, just let me know what most interests you. I hope this addresses the questions you’ve already asked! If I can help clarify anything further, let me know! Thank you for commenting and for the questions!

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      1. Thank you for your reply. My personal view is that all people (provided they are decent and have earned it) should be treated with respect whether they choose to live as their own sex or as another sex or as someone androgynous. I am fully in favour of the protection of trans individuals in law but I am wholly against self-ID and the notion that trans women ARE women and trans men ARE men. They clearly aren’t – as you have pointed out so clearly. I believe that there should be safe spaces for trans individuals just as there should be safe spaces for women – but they can’t always be the same space. I personally don’t have any issue with a trans woman using the ladies’ toilets or changing rooms provided she is very clearly someone who is living fully as a woman and is respectful of the women she is sharing space with. A trans person parading his penis in a bikini and in a woman’s changing room and refusing to tuck (as some do), is someone who is completely unworthy of respect and should not be allowed in such spaces. I think that, fundamentally, it comes down to decency. No decent woman would object to someone who is clearly respectful of her wish for privacy and safety, whether she has fully transitioned or not. However, many people in the trans lobby are so insistent that they be treated exactly as if they ARE the sex they choose to live as that they end up alienating those very people, like me, who just believe in fairness for all. There is also a real problem related to healthcare for trans individuals who haven’t fully transitioned medically but who have changed their legal gender. Many trans men stop getting called for smear tests for example which can have devastating consequences for them. There really needs to be some joining of the dots and unfortunately changing your legal sex and birth certificate etc just because you say you want to live as someone of the other sex can end up making trans individuals at even more significant risk of very serious health conditions which cannot be what the lobby is seeking.

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  2. Great article! On the whole are transwomen men or women thing, it does seem to me more and more – why must we only have these 2 categories? Why can’t we say there are men, women, transmen and transwomen, and even a few more (non-binary) categories if necessary? Then we could all stop the interminable argument, and design appropriate laws and policies, which take due account of biological sex, where necessary.

    Catch u back on Twitter!

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  3. Thanks! You’re part of why it’s great. Not sure if you caught it, but I referenced you in it!

    I’m torn between the concept of adding more categories and just doing away with them altogether. It’s a bit difficult to discern which actually would create less strife. Maybe it’s just me starting to get older/jaded, but part of me does wonder if we’d just be better off doing away with all of our boxes.

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  4. Thank you for this. The part about the impact of not having been born and raised a woman resonated with me. It’s something I haven’t seen any trans activists willing to acknowledge. I know that having spent my whole life being viewed, treated and judged as a female has had a lasting impact on my identity, confidence, opportunities, etc. It’s a huge part of who I am, even if I don’t like much of it and do my best to resist its effects. Best of luck to you. I hope we can all find a way to move forward happily and cooperatively, respecting each others’ unique needs and concerns.

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    1. You’re welcome, I’m so glad it resonated with you. Thank you for commenting. Hopefully with more trans people speaking to these concerns, the activists waving our flags around will stop harassing women for a minute and listen. I’m very sure we can move forward exactly as you hope. We’ve just got to build a bit of understanding first 🙂 If I can ever help, let me know.

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  5. How about trans folks are the ‘gender’ of which they identify, either man or woman and then the ‘sex’ as their assignment at birth. Legal questions of F vs M notwithstanding do you think this theory of sex v gender is correct? Especially if you believe that gender is a social construct? So why can’t you be a woman yet AMAB? Wouldn’t this simplify things. Because if a trans woman is treated as the gender woman by society how is she not a woman?

    Also cis is not a slur in any way, shape, or form it’s a descriptor like gay v straight.

    Separate spaces for trans folks won’t work because, like you stated, there are too few of us. But also don’t you think separating us out as a different category of human generally puts trans folks in much more danger. We would be seen as the ‘other’ as opposed to just another piece of society’s rich tapestry.

    Feel free to block me again. Hope you’re having a ball with all your gendercrit friends.

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    1. >So why can’t you be a woman yet AMAB?

      You can be in the sense that you can be perceived as a woman, but the scope of that exists in perception. The mix between the perception of self and ways we’re interpreted by others we call gender. You might also call this the subjective sense, as I described it in the article. In the objective sense, I’m a transwoman.

      >if a trans woman is treated as the gender woman by society how is she not a woman?

      Because there’s a limit to the subjective sense. At some point, we have to acknowledge we’re trans and navigate all of the nuance that comes with it. You’ve shared opinions with me suggesting you agree that’s the truth of it.

      >cis is not a slur in any way, shape, or form it’s a descriptor like gay v straight.

      Never said it was. I’m not against people using it if it suits them. My point here is it isn’t a thing to force. People are being banned on Twitter now for insisting others are cis when they don’t identify as such and for good reasons.

      I’ve got a lot of issues with the term personally, and I prefer the cultural semantic that transwomen are transwomen and women are women. I don’t have any need for the term in how I identify myself, but best of luck in your defenses of it.

      >separating us out as a different category of human generally puts trans folks in much more danger

      It doesn’t put us in more danger in my view, in fact I see it as a pathway to making the world much safer and more accepting of us. Also, there are ways to avoid the sorts of problems you probably have in mind with what I’m speaking to in my article.

      >Feel free to block me again.

      I’ve no reason to now and I’m sorry I did in the first place. I was deeply frustrated by your response to the concern I was expressing to you and didn’t appreciate the assertions you were making about me. I don’t hold any ill feelings toward you, In spite of our different philosophies, we’re on the same team. Hope you’ll come understand that some day.

      >Hope you’re having a ball with all your gendercrit friends.

      I am ❤ Thanks! It's a delightful form of feminism when it's not clashing with trans nonsense. You should try reading some of their theory sometime. I get that it's difficult to understand my perspective here, but you have to understand the lens I have on all this. I've studied a lot of that theory academically and have a great deal of respect for it. It's been so valuable historically and still has a great deal to offer. I'd like to see the conflicts between trans people and radfems/gender critical feminists end so we can all get back to working to reshape the world. We're all on the same team. The concerns we have and changes we want in society aren't nearly as different as your perspective leads you to believe.

      I'm going to unblock you, but I understand if you don't want anything to do with me regardless. Wishing you the best either way. Happy New Year!!

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  6. Doesn’t gender critical thought pretty much mean you believe gender to be a completely social construct? Because if that’s the case wouldn’t my understanding of sex and gender be the correct one? FTR I think gender is way more integrated into our psyches to be merely a social construction but if one takes the idea that gender is completely made up than why couldn’t I be the gender woman? By society I’m viewed as a woman therefore I’m part of the gender woman. This doesn’t deny my trans hood whatsoever I’m just this kind of woman. Isn’t this a gender critical foundation? Gender is just made up? If so than my ‘performance’ of gender is completely legitimate. Now I know you might say that gc’s want to abolish gender but that’s not the world we live in and aren’t trans people slowly breaking down gender/gender stereotypes every day? 🤔

    Honestly I respect your gender id and your faith in humanity but I’m not going to let us get split into the ‘other’ category. In a society that is extremely conscious of a gender binary we need to be allowed to be part of that binary at times for our own safety. Seriously trans women have been in women’s spaces for decades in some parts of this country. The outcry of the last few years is merely that the cis have started to recognize us as something other and therefore dangerous. There are too few of us to be the other. I’m glad you feel great using gn facilities but what would you choose if it were (as it is mostly) only the men’s room or the women’s? Just remember that many on the gc side would shoo you off to the men’s in a second. Are you ok with that?

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    1. >Doesn’t gender critical thought pretty much mean you believe gender to be a completely social construct?

      I do, and we’re all oppressed by it. Gender exists in the subjective realm. It’s an amalgamation of how one perceives themselves, how they’re perceived by others, and everyone’s expectations of how a person should behave based on the gender perceived.

      Thing is though, if I weren’t perceived as a woman, I would be missing a huge part of that experience. Trans people like to put forth the idea that trans women are women no matter how we’re perceived. I’m not convinced that’s true, because so much of my gendered experience of the world is based in how I’m perceived and how the world interacts with me. If I lacked the ability to pass, I would lack that aspect of my gender and I don’t think it’s right to force others to conform to how we see ourselves when they don’t see us that way. I think that offering is a matter of respect and trust. I extremely dislike compelling people with law/policy to see and/or treat me differently than what is natural to them.

      >why couldn’t I be the gender woman? By society I’m viewed as a woman therefore I’m part of the gender woman.

      In the subjective sense, you can be, my point though is there’s a scope to that. That scope gives us a degree of shared experience, but in the objective sense, where the scope of what we are isn’t limited, I find it accurate, useful, respectful, etc to be called a transwomen and to think of ourselves as a distinct category. But here’s a thing to ponder.. We have the term “mankind” which includes women, right? Would it make sense to you if I said we also have something we can think of as “womankind” which transwomen would be included in? The “kind” in those words refers to shared circumstance/commonality. We certainly have that with womankind, but at the end of the day I’m a transwoman, which I see as a distinct category. You and everyone else is free to identify yourselves however you like, that’s a personal choice as far as I’m concerned, though I’ve found the choice I’ve made to be the better one for myself and would applaud/encourage anyone choosing to do the same.

      >I’m not going to let us get split into the ‘other’ category

      We are in such a category regardless. In your semantics, trans women are women and cis women are women. Trans is an “other” kind of woman, a far less common kind that’s marginalized, hated, discriminated against, etc. I want to end all of that, and feel that embracing ourselves as the complex, distinct, and beautiful creatures we are is the better pathway toward that. Through personal experience, I’ve found that if I try to force my womanhood on to others, they react negatively. If I’m honest and explain that I’m a transwoman, they respect me for it and relax more often than not. It becomes an opportunity for a nuanced conversation about my complex reality. The number of people who have reacted negatively to this approach is miniscule. It makes for a great opportunity for compassionate education and reshapes the world just a bit more every time.

      >In a society that is extremely conscious of a gender binary we need to be allowed to be part of that binary at times for our own safety.

      I do agree, but as I said, I’m interested in changing the shape of the world so that this statement isn’t accurate. It’s going to be a long and difficult road, and perhaps I’m a bit naive, but I do believe we can get there.

      >the cis have started to recognize us as something other and therefore dangerous

      Phrases like “the cis” are an excellent example of the kinds of issues I have with its usage. And no, if you listen to “the cis” you’ll find that the outcry is over our continued denial of what I’ve been calling the objective sense. The reaction to “trans women are women” is, “No! Transwomen are men!!!” whereas the reaction to “Transwomen are transwomen” is, “Oh, yes, that’s reasonable.” I’m sure you’re sick of me going on and on about bridges, but what I’m describing here is what I mean when I say that ours is a difficult one to cross. Denying objective reality and aggressively demanding others conform to subjective reality doesn’t make anyone feel safe/secure. Would you cross a bridge if you didn’t feel it was safe/secure?

      >what would you choose if it were (as it is mostly) only the men’s room or the women’s?

      I thought that was clear in my article, but maybe not. I do use women’s spaces and that’s out of safety needs. Most everyone is happy to accomodate us with regard to toilets. Ideally, we’d have third/forth/even fifth spaces or single-occupancy available everywhere, but that’s just impossible, so we opt for nuanced integration. Where we run into problems is usually spaces beyond toilets– pretty sure I remember you agreeing with regard to pre/non-ops in open changing areas/showers/baths/etc.

      >Just remember that many on the gc side would shoo you off to the men’s in a second. Are you ok with that?

      No, and I hope to build understanding with those folks through articles like this. As I’ve highlighted here, in the subjective sense we’re perceived as women in, we do experience misogyny. Any rapist, abuser, etc isn’t going to discriminate against a transwoman if he perceives her as a woman and if he then learns that she’s trans, the threat only escalates. For those who believe as you’re describing, I try to highlight this truth and enable them to understand why it isn’t safe or practical to shoo us off to men’s.

      Like

      1. Anyway I’m too sleepy for this and I’ve been indulging in my Massachusetts xmas gifts lol but I do want to wish a Happy New Year to you and yours. Hope it’s a great one! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  7. If a trans woman is “an adult human transsexual”, then so are trans men. Now we’re all just trans’ and have no identity other than that. No good.

    In the ‘trans only’ spaces that you think would be a good idea, we would all be in the same room because of how you chose to define us. Also no good.

    We definitely should not let others decide our gender (as you endorse) by how THEY perceive US.

    I am a woman because I know I am a woman. I don’t need anyone deciding for me that they know better because of how they choose to perceive me.

    Using “transwoman” instead of “trans woman”, you again ‘other’ us into a new noun. Trans is an adjective just like tall, short, blonde, brunette, black, and white.
    I am a woman who is also trans. I am not a transwoman.

    Cisgender is cisgender. They may balk at it because they can’t just say they are the default, correct, or normal “woman” or “man” anymore. It puts them on an even playing field as us men and women who are trans. But, language is as language does. Sorry.

    It’s always sad to see a trans person doing the work of our haters for them like this.

    If anyone tells us we are not women or men, they damn well are transphobic, and that includes gender non conforming people. It isn’t just cis folk who can be transphobic. As evidenced by this post.

    I don’t care for a reply. I just couldn’t read this garbage without speaking out against it, like I do anywhere I see it.

    Trans women ARE women.
    Trans men ARE men.
    Non binary people ARE valid.

    End of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. >If a trans woman is “an adult human transsexual”, then so are trans men. Now we’re all just trans’ and have no identity other than that. No good.

      A transwoman is an adult human male-to-female transsexual. A transman is an adult human female-to-male transsexual. The words are defined as such in the dictionary, same as woman meaning adult human female. I’m perfectly fine with understanding myself and communicating in those common terms.

      >In the ‘trans only’ spaces that you think would be a good idea, we would all be in the same room because of how you chose to define us. Also no good.

      As I envision such spaces with regard to toilets, changing areas, showers, etc. My view is that privacy is key and single-occupancy is preferable to any mixed spaces. Whenever such spaces exist, it’s a blessing for a plethora of reasons for all kinds of people. There’s no reason to be opposed to them. I think they’re especially good for our non-binary friends.

      >We definitely should not let others decide our gender (as you endorse) by how THEY perceive US.

      Gender is a complex amalgamation of things. It is how we perceive ourselves and relate our identity. It is how we are perceived by others. It is our combined understanding of the common traits of men/women and all of the stereotypes, expectations, and circumstance that comes along with it. If we are not perceived to be our gender, we do not experience many aspects of existing as our gender, regardless of how we identify. I personally don’t feel it’s right to force my subjective experience of myself on others who do not experience me the same way. I don’t judge them for not experiencing me as I experience myself. To do so would be immoral in my view. This is just my personal philosophy though, I’m not demanding you adopt it. You have every right to your own philosophy.

      > I am not a transwoman.

      Fine by me, like I said above I’m not interested in forcing my philosophy on you.

      >Cisgender is cisgender.

      In my philosophy, women are women and transwomen are transwomen. It’s how I view myself and others. I understand how you might perceive me as a threat, but I promise we’re on the same team in spite of our differing outlooks. I’m happy to agree to disagree, share my view, and leave your own understanding of yours. That’s how subjectivity works afterall. There is no Truth with a capital “T” in subjectivity. There are only subjective truths, or what we commonly refer to as opinions and I think that’s a beautiful thing in and of itself.

      >It’s always sad to see a trans person doing the work of our haters for them like this.

      The audience that shares my views doesn’t hate us, they just often haven’t come to understand us and I work to build that understanding through listening to their concerns and patiently addressing them. The cure for ignorance and hatred is competence and compassion, not more hatred and ignorance. I’d call your assertion my audience are “haters” a hateful and ignorant statement, but I understand where you’re coming from and I hope the way I’m explaining things here helps you come to terms with what I’m all about.

      >If anyone tells us we are not women or men, they damn well are transphobic

      Not in my experience. They’re just folks with a different philosophy and different subjective lens on life, same as me. It doesn’t mean they hate/fear us, it just means they see things differently. I’ve found there’s two different sorts. There are those who will say, “Transwomen are not women, they’re transwomen” and those who will say, “Transwomen are not women, they’re men”. The latter, I firmly recognize as offensive and advocate against. The former, I have no issues with and in fact prefer for myself. I’d applaud any who adopt my philosophy because yes, I do believe it’s the best way to view and communicate about ourselves, and though I might be critical of your beliefs as you’re critical of mine, I’d not judge you for them.

      >Trans women ARE women.
      Trans men ARE men.
      Non binary people ARE valid.

      I understand why you hold that view and I hope my reply helps you understand why I hold mine. Thank you for commenting! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. > “My view is that privacy is key and single-occupancy is preferable to any mixed spaces. Whenever such spaces exist, it’s a blessing for a plethora of reasons for all kinds of people. There’s no reason to be opposed to them.”

        Lines are backed up enough for the ladies room. Single occupancy is fine when you expect a single user. Such as a gas station. So, unless you have dozens of single use bathrooms in larger spaces where there will be more users, this will only cause more people to hold it (damaging kidneys), soil themselves, or never return to that place.
        And ‘trans only spaces’ is nothing more than othering us to the nth degree. You’d bring back ‘whites only diners’ and ‘colored drinking fountains’ with that kind of thinking.
        No reason to oppose them? Claim denied.

        > “Gender is a complex amalgamation of things. It is how we perceive ourselves and relate our identity. It is how we are perceived by others.”

        Our gender is not up for others to decide. As many things as it may be, it is not that.
        Nothing that makes me ‘me’ is up for anyone else to decide for me. Calling me a man is not excused by “Sorry, it’s how I perceive you, mate.” It is transphobic.

        > “In my philosophy, women are women and transwomen are transwomen.”

        Cisgender being cisgender is not an opinion. Trans women being women is not a philosophy. These are Truths with a capitol T.
        Disagreeing with these facts is a choice.

        > “I’d call your assertion my audience are “haters” a hateful and ignorant statement, but I understand where you’re coming from…”

        You can call it a hateful statement, as you did, but not ignorant. I’ve dealt enough with the GC crowd to know what I’m saying, thank you.

        If anyone tells us we are not women or men, they damn swell are transphobic.

        > “Not in my experience. They’re just folks with a different philosophy and different subjective lens on life, same as me.”

        Again, me being a woman is not a philosophy. It is not up for debate. It is not for anyone to decide for me.
        That you are willing to give that away to anyone disturbs me. That you are encouraging others to do so as well disgusts me.

        > “I understand why you hold that view and I hope my reply helps you understand why I hold mine.”

        If you really understood why, you wouldn’t have tried to challenge me on it.

        Trans women ARE women is not a point of view.
        Trans men ARE men is not a point of view.
        Nonbinary people ARE valid is not a point of view.

        These are realities. Not opinions. Not philosophies. Not topics up for debate.
        I’m so sorry that you look at yourself that way.
        I hope someday you can learn to love yourself for who YOU are, and not what you let others decide you are.

        Reply as you feel you need to, but you will be talking to yourself and your “audience”, as I will not be returning.

        Be well, and goodbye.

        Like

      2. Fair enough, let’s leave it at that then. As I’ve said, I get where you’re coming from and don’t expect you to embrace my way of thinking but I hope you can accept that I’d rather not embrace yours and we can agree to disagree. Thank you for hearing me out and having the conversation. I think all points of view are important. I’m sorry for the parts of mine that are a challenge to yours, but it is what it is. I usually find the truth exists in the middle of these ordeals and like all voices to be heard.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi there,
    Very interesting blog. Thank you for presenting both sides of the debate very rationally. I have been reading recently that quite a lot of gendercritics are claiming autogenophilia is a significant cause of a lot of trans womens’/transwomens’dysphoria.

    It’s starting to be known as ‘the elephant in the room’ and is increasingly being talked about by terfs as they try to get the topic more widely known in mainstream society, outside of feminist circles.
    Do you think the numbers of trans women with autogenophilia are as high as they suggest and what is your position on autogenophilia?
    Do you think that it is fair they are scrutinizing and focusing on this one aspect of dysphoria so thoroughly?

    Thank you very much in advance

    Like

    1. Hi, and thanks so much for commenting!

      I don’t deny autogynphilia is real by any means, nor that its opposite homosexual transsexual is a thing. I’m of the mind that transsexuality is a multi-factorial condition. The types that Dr. Blanchard observed are certainly real, but I feel that it’s more complicated than those two types. As far as how many autogynephiles there are, it’s hard to say but I do recognize that transitioning helps them too. The goal is usually less perversion and more a recognition of their illness and strong desire to overcome it and transitioning can help them get it under control. There’s differences with them from me to be sure, but I don’t by any means think they’re dangerous as the common perception seems to be. The fact of the matter is that there are very few of them and being such a tiny minority, they are spoken for loudly by only the most outrageous among them. I’ve known many who accept exactly what they are and speak to their condition just like I’m explaining it here.

      From my observations and interactions with other trans people, I would say that there is a whole spectrum of types that aren’t accounted for by what Dr. Blanchard observed and it seems to be continually evolving as our world becomes more and more complex. What he observed may have been an accurate representation of his time, but things have since become quite a lot more complicated and society has adjusted itself in such ways that many people of different types on the spectrum who formerly would have repressed their need to transition are now feeling comfortable to come out and do so.

      No condition in the history of humankind has been so simple as there being two types. Look at how conditions like autism are understood nowadays. I’m of the mind that there’s a full spectrum to both autism and transsexualism. The vast majority though are just people trying to live functional, happy lives. We don’t want to bother anyone or be a burden. There are a few psychos and sickos among us like any other groups of humans, but for the most part we’re just like most anyone else.

      There’s this whole meme that tries to demonize us as being only the most outrageous among us, but I don’t think they’re representative of the whole of us. They’re minorities within a minority. An unfortunate thing about any minority is that we all become spokespeople for our minority and it tends to only be the loudest and most outrageous of us who is heard, thus people like to use things like autogynephilia to paint us with broad strokes. I think of people would just learn more about us and get a better understanding of the full picture, they would come to see it like I do to.

      I hope that gives you some perspective. If you have any more questions, I’m happy to speak to them.

      Like

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